Oak Creek — The school day may end for Oak Creek-Franklin School District students at 2:30 p.m., but an entirely different kind of learning takes place just five minutes later, at 2:35 p.m.
Club 2:35 is a new after-school enrichment program that invites kindergartners through fifth-graders to paint pottery, learn guitar, take a drawing workshop and more for an hour after school. The club is in its first year and taught by local contractors and district employees.
Heather Ryan, youth program coordinator, created Club 2:35 to enhance students' learning with new, diverse activities.
"If those kids can go home with a guitar chord or a song, it's a great sense of accomplishment in a short time," Ryan said. "In this case (pottery) they make something every time they come."
This year, Club 2:35 offered about 48 programs including Young Rembrandts drawing, Stage Stars acting, Chess Scholars, Play Guitar, Adventures in Engineering, Tech-Knowledge-Y, Mad Science and pottery. There were 536 participants.
"This is something my kids have always wanted to do," she said. "It's after school and convenient."
Classes are taught in three-week sessions and offered twice at each elementary school in the district from October through April. Classes range in cost from $12 to $40, depending on the materials.
Joining the fun
Many students said Club 2:35 gave them an opportunity to learn or practice a hobby they enjoy doing outside of school or home, like pottery painting at Cedar Hills Elementary.
"You get to do something else, and it's kind of like a surprise of what we can do," said Steve Sandor, second grade.
Instructors accommodate the student age gap by giving basic instructions first and then showing an advanced option. For pottery, that included detail work.
Sandor tried painting Angry Birds on his plate. Tattyana Arzuaga, fourth grade, chose snow flakes.
"It's up to every kid to decide how they want to do it; art controls itself in that way," said Joanne Eberle, manager at La Terraza, a paint-your-own pottery studio in Wauwatosa.
After three sessions, pottery students will have painted a box, dish and animal figure.
Arzuaga gave a heart box she painted red to her mother; the plate will be a gift for her father. Ryan said Club 2:35 also makes a great Christmas and birthday gift to students.
While painting, kids are sitting and talking with students in different grades and classes.
"All of a sudden, you have a whole different group of people who have a hobby with you," Ryan said.
Club 2:35 does not interfere with A.S.P.I.R.E., the districtwide morning and after-school care offered Monday through Friday. About five Club 2:35 students also go to A.S.P.I.R.E.
Looking ahead, Ryan hopes to partner with more local businesses to create Club 2:35 activities. She's open to a lot of ideas, she said, including movie making or more programs with technology.
Club 2:35 registration is available online. Activities update monthly, so parents should continue to check back to see when certain classes are offered at their child's school. The average class size is between 12 and 15 students.
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