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Extracurricular Excellence: A Year in Review

Many students saw the door open wide to the possibilities of an exciting future this year! The encouragement and confidence to apply for a high school specialty center was discovered on stage. Motivation for academic achievement was encouraged through music participation. Dreams of being an aerospace engineer were ignited through club participation. It is a world of opportunities for students when they have access to school extracurriculars.

After a five year hiatus, a reading specialist at Falling Creek Middle School was determined to bring back the drama club. Knowing there was very little, if any, props or set pieces and new to leading a drama program, she reached out to Start 1 Spark for assistance. On a cold, snowy day, 21 volunteers built three folding set walls and five set cubes the drama club used to create a living room for their performance of Down the Wrong Beanstalk. And what an amazing performance it was! The 26 students LOVED being onstage or backstage putting on a show. In fact, at least 3 students plan to apply to Chesterfield’s Thomas Dale arts specialty center to pursue performing arts classes. Without a middle school theater program, students do not have the opportunity to access this high school experience. 

The John Rolfe Middle School music program continues to thrive as it pursues “Excellence in Musicianship”. This year, the concert band received the highest rating from the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association - Overall SUPERIOR! This annual performance is the SOL for music programs and what the student musicians spend all year preparing for. Additionally, 35 students were inducted into the school’s chapter of the National Music Honors Society; nearly double the number of students from last year. Six students received individual recognition for the musicianship and were selected to join the Henrico All County Band. By renting and refurbishing donated instruments, 40 students were able to take part in a music program that is a source of pride for the whole school and a means to strengthen their all-around academic achievements. 

The Falling Creek Pantherbots were back at the competition tables in the FIRST LEGO League regional tournament. This year, the veteran students took the lead in teaching all of the new members with very little guidance from their teacher. The student-led club earned a high score of 125 in the competition. Most importantly, the Pantherbots received the Judges’ Award given in recognition of their teamwork and support of each other during the presentation. The leadership and cooperation skills students learn through extracurriculars are foundational building blocks to a successful future. 

Access to extracurriculars opens opportunities for students to pursue more challenging high school courses, uplift school spirit, and be a leader amongst their peers. Start 1 Spark is proud to support students in discovering their passions and unleashing their potential. With the right access and support, all students can find their spark!

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