Youth programming at Hopkins Public Schools' two junior highs focuses on creating an environment were students play an active role in their after-school activities. Students at Hopkins North Junior High and Hopkins West Junior High have risen to the challenge with guidance from Steve Bucko, youth development supervisor, who divides his time between both junior high schools. The success of the program is in part to the energy, passion, creativity, and vision that Steve brings to the position.
Youth Service Clubs
Both schools have established youth service clubs in which the students decide what projects to work with. Already, they have chosen to help Feed My Starving Children as well as the Crisis Nursery, St. Therese's Nursing Home, and Hopkins Goodwill.
Theater clubs are giving students an active role in programming. At North, the NJH Players just finished its fall play "WhoDunit. . . and to Whom?"—a show that was selected by the students. Funding support for the NJH Players is through a Hopkins Education Foundation grant. Hopkins West Junior High offered a five-week actors workshop that was taught by a Twin Cities theater artist who has taught classes at the Guthrie Theater. Both schools will offer spring theater productions.
Focus on Students' Interests
Additionally, students have begun to create their own clubs. At HWJH, students started a D&D club (Dungeons and Dragons) and a Chess Club. The first chess tournament took place in December.
Staff members at the schools are enthusiastically stepping forward to offer swimming, engineering, photography, technology, and badminton.
In January, both junior highs will launch the creation of Students Promoting Positive Actions (SPPA). SPPA will act as a student-driven organization that will promote a drug-free lifestyle.
Both junior highs are moving forward to a future where all students are participating in after-school activities.