Wayne County Schools’ 21 st Century Afterschool Program once again participated in the
annual Lights On Afterschool national event by putting their own very clever spin that appeals to
local students. The 21 st Century staff put a lot into the annual event to emphasize the importance of
afterschool programming and celebrate all the offerings students can take advantage of at the Wayne
County Middle School.
This year’s local theme was “The Hunger Games…Read. Catch the Fire! Decorations and
foods were created to match the theme. The fifth through eighth graders in attendance especially
enjoyed the buffet menu straight from the Capitol of Panem, including everything from Tesserae
Rations to Mellark Bakery Cookies to Tribute Cupcakes.
The high school band’s drum line provided entertainment under the direction of Assistant
Band Director Tyler Cook. That was followed up with the reception and then activities in niches
throughout the school. Discovering the magic of STEM, creating the city of Panem in Minecraft, and
Hunger Game art and craft projects, along with free books given away in the library made it a special
event. Outside on the lawn, students ran the Hunger Games course to determine a winner. Several
informational booths were also set up for school travel trips, as well as the Healthy Kids Clinic. The
school safety officer was available to speak with parents.
Across the country, lights on front porches to special effect lighting on skyscrapers were
turned on for afterschool programs on October 18 th as students, parents, educators, policy makers,
business and faith leaders, community members and others came together to show their support for
afterschool programs as part of the 19th annual Lights On Afterschool. The only nationwide rally for
afterschool programs, Lights On Afterschool included more than 8,300 events in every corner of the
country this year, including Wayne County.
The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to focus attention on the urgent
need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide homework help, mentoring, STEM (science,
technology, engineering and math) activities, sports and fitness, healthy snacks and meals, art and
dance, job- and college-readiness, and opportunities for hands-on, team-based learning.
A national poll recently released found that vast majorities of the public – across gender, race, age,
regional and party lines – consider afterschool programs important to their communities. There is
strong support for public funding of afterschool and summer learning programs, with two in three
adults saying they want their federal, state and local leaders to provide funding for these programs..
“This new poll and the massive turnout for Lights On Afterschool this year shows Americans
understand the pivotal role that quality afterschool programs play in helping young people develop
the skills they need to thrive in school and in life,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi
Grant. “All over the country today, people are seeing firsthand the skills students hone and talents
they develop at their afterschool programs, which keep kids safe and inspire them to learn through
fun, educational, hands-on activities. Unfortunately, there aren’t nearly enough afterschool programs
to meet the need. That needs to change because afterschool and summer learning programs help
children reach their full potential and ready them for the jobs of tomorrow.”
The New York skyline will again shine for afterschool programs for the 12th consecutive
year, the iconic Empire State Building is lit up in yellow and blue for afterschool. Lights will also
shine for afterschool this evening across the country, as the Pennsylvania Capitol, Florida’s
Orlando Eye, the Indianapolis Power & Light building, buildings along the Dallas skyline, and the
M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore light up in honor of Lights On Afterschool. Earlier this month, the
waterfalls of Sioux Falls lit up to kick off South Dakota’s celebrations.
The America After 3PM household survey of 30,000 families, commissioned by the
Afterschool Alliance, found that for every child in an afterschool program, two more are waiting to
get in. Unmet demand is especially high in rural communities and communities of concentrated
poverty. One in five students in the United States is unsupervised after the school day ends.
Governments, parents, philanthropies, businesses and others support afterschool programs, but
investments are frequently under threat.
Among the more than 200 diverse national, state and local Lights On Afterschool 2018
partners supporting Lights On Afterschool this year are 4-H Afterschool, After-School All-Stars,
Association for Science-Technology Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Campaign for Grade-
Level Reading, Camp Fire, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), Girls Inc., National
Association of Police Athletics/Activities Leagues (PAL), National League of Cities, National
Recreation & Park Association, Think Together, the YMCA of the USA and others.
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to
ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs
Treats to celebrate the Lights on After School event held at WCMS
Students standing in line for "Tribute Cupcakes"
21st Century Teacher Nikki Criswell and WCMS Counselor Lori Anderson serving up "Peeta's Chips and Dip"
Public Library employee Marlene Bass helps Harper Crabtree dig into some candy
(l-r) Fifth graders Sopheria Davis and Alyssa Peckham working in the Minecraft lab
Placido Vicente speaking to 21st Century Coordinator Katherine Kidd during the program
(l-r): Nicki Criswell, Jayden Munsey, and Katherine Kidd at the assembly
Diana Palacios "volunteering as tribute"
Assistant Band Director and WCHS Humanities teacher Tyler Cook introducing the WCHS band drumline
The WC Band Drumline
(l-r): Andrew Perdue, Nik Davis, Aubry Holt, and Evan Taylor
(l-r): Madison Johnson, Natalie Humble, and Mason Lester
Parent Jamie Pitman signed a health consent at the Healthy Kids Clinic booth.