New East High School Boys & Girls Club

Maria Hernandez, Staffer

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You walk into the Walker building after school, ready to begin your time at the new East High Boys & Girls Club. You put your backpack into a locker and scan your membership card at the door, where you are happily greeted by a Boys & Girls club employee. You then sit down with your friends and relax until four when the first session starts where you are given four choices. After you finish the first session at 5:10, you go to eat the dinner provided at the café where you can relax and wait for the next session at 5:50, which could include anything from a cooking class to a money management session. After an eventful day at the Boys & Girls club, you feel a sense of ownership and community as you head home at 7 p.m. 

“I want them (students) to know that it is their club,” unit director Chris Noth said. 

The East High School Boys and Girls Club opens on Jan. 21 at the Walker Building on the East campus. This club is the first teen only Boys and Girls Club to open in Iowa and offers a lot of opportunities for club members, including a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) lab, ESports stations, DJ booth, homework help, tutoring, and more 

“A lot of our time is going to be focused on each kid and what they want and need after they graduate high school,” Program Specialist Ariel DuPey said. 

Many of the programs are meant to help students see a future out of high school, no matter what it is. 

“We want everyone to graduate high school with a solid plan for what to do next, whether it is college or a career,” Noth said. 

According to bgcci.org, the purpose of the Boys & Girls club is “To inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,. 

“It helped me so much having a different community that I could go to when I was in middle school, being able to have those mentors really helped me a lot,” East High Freshman Mackenzie Speck said. 

This club benefits students who may be having problems outside of the classroom and don’t feel safe going home. It gives students a lot of opportunities like belonging to a community at school and having a safe place to go after school instead of going out and getting in trouble. 

“I think that it will give a good opportunity for students to get help from someone who isn’t a teacher,” Teacher Kortny Williamson said. 

Students also benefit in the classroom, academic wise. Tutoring is going to be a regular session at the club because they know that students are in need of additional academic supportStudents will also benefit from being shown that school and learning can be interesting through the S.T.E.A.M. lab. 

“Boys and Girls club is such an amazing time and I feel like having it in the high school is going to mean a lot to the kids,” Speck said. 

Catch a glimpse of the Boys & Girls Club at their grand opening party on Jan. 21 from 3-7 p.m. All students who attend East are invited.