One Friday each month, Memorial High School students get to take a break, let go of some of that school stress, have some fun, and maybe even learn a new skill all thanks to the school’s new activity period.
“The idea came about off of student feedback last year from Student Council. We were talking about how to decrease our chronic absenteeism,” said Principal Rebecca Grooms. “I’m very happy with how everything has worked out.”
The school sent out a Google Doc where students could suggest the activities they would like to see at the school. The school administrators condensed the list, and teachers chose which ones they would like to run. The end result is more than forty activities that students can get involved in.
“Students are cooking; they’re sewing; they’re knitting. If they want to do indoor sports, they are learning different types of games that they wouldn’t necessarily learn in P.E.,” said Principal Grooms. “Then there were some that were really creative like Medieval Fight Club. It’s one of our most popular.”
The school gathered the necessary supplies – foam swords, yarn, board games, groceries and more –through Amazon wish lists and gift cards.
“The community, alumni, they really came through for us,” said Principal Grooms.
Now that it is in full swing, it is clear how much the students love it.
“It’s a fun opportunity to meet new people who like the same things you like,” said Carrie Lewis, as she made salsa and guacamole in the cooking activity.
“It gives me time to relax,” said Madison, who was knitting a scarf.
Max took a short break from medieval fighting to say, “It’s amazing.”
The Medieval Fight Club has about 40 students signed up to “fight” with foam weapons. Led by band teacher Heath Miller, students learn about medieval times, proper swordsmanship, codes of chivalry, and, most importantly, how to safely participate.
In Life Skills, students learn how to search for jobs and fill out applications. In Book Crafts, students repurpose old books into new items. Students can exercise in Yoga, Walking/Ab Circuit, or Old School Fitness. They can show off their artistic side in Creative Expression, Arts and Crafts, Doodling with 3D Pens, and Creative Writing. In both First Aid and Adulting, students have an opportunity to learn crucial life skills. Students can hear from representatives from historically black college and universities in one activity or prep for the ACT and SAT in another. A diverse range of interests are represented, including K-Pop, anime, sci-Fi movies, mindfulness, and meditation. There really is something for everyone, and there are more ideas in the works for next year.
“It will continue to evolve. I know my teachers are already planning for next year,” said Principal Grooms. “Our goal for next year is to have more community groups involved. Right now, we have the Marines come in and they do a boot camp. We would love to have somebody come in and do coding, automotive – changing a tire, changing the oil.”
Check out the photos of January’s activity period below, and follow Memorial on Facebook for more photos and information.