Upper Arlington News

It's true: Wickliffe students want to stay after school

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From drama to magic to martial arts, Upper Arlington Wickliffe Progressive School students jump into a rich array of activities as soon as the afternoon school bell rings.

Most After School Discovery classes at Wickliffe begin at 2:50 p.m. each school day.

The program, coordinated by the school's PTO, is a popular one with Wickliffe students.

PTO President Kris Rojas said parents teach some of the classes, such as art, Spanish and engineering.

"We have a few favorites that are always popular, such as magic class," she said. "Local magician Carroll Baker teaches the class and the kids love learning magic tricks. The art class is also very hands-on and the instructor is super-creative."

Baker is a master magician who combines comedy and magic, she said. He was president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians for two years and was voted Magician of the Year by the Society of American Magicians for three years in a row.

Rojas said students can choose to take a cooking class through Local Matters.

"We are always looking for new classes to offer," Rojas said. "That is how we got Local Matters to offer a class. One of our parents, Jessica Elfird, contacted them and made it happen. We love parent input for class suggestions."

The school held a Clay Cafe day for students Feb. 13, during which participants painted bisqueware to create original pieces of ceramic art.

Co-chairmen for the program are parents Dayna Baird Payne and Richard Harned.

Payne said her daughter attends the classes and enjoys the magic class.

"Kids are provided with a basic magic kit by magician Carroll Baker and they learn and refine tricks and magician's skills throughout the six-week class," Payne said. "I have personally watched the kids performing their newly learned tricks for their peers."

She said Candace Mazur-Darman teaches a drama class in which participants practice and perform an entire play, complete with costumes, sound effects and sets developed by the students.

"Some recent productions include Sleeping Beauty and The Big Friendly Giant," Payne said.

Balloon Twisting is also a popular class. Teacher Eric Carlson provides students with a hand pump and balloons, then teaches them how to twist the balloons into rabbits, hats, swords, frogs and other fun shapes.

"My daughter, Kate Kramer, took Erica's class and has entertained all the kids in the neighborhood with her balloon shapes and hats," Payne said.

Kate said she learned some essential skills.

"I learned how to make so many shapes -- I could get an extra job doing birthday parties for children when I get older," she said.

Payne said the Local Matters cooking class was so full that the PTO had to hold a lottery and plans to offer the class again during spring ASD classes.

Other classes include Writers Club, Spanish, High Five Hoops, Emerging Artists, Chess, Kids on the Court (tennis) and Engineering for boys and girls.

The Martial Arts class is held at USA Seibukan Martial Arts Training in Grandview.

"I happened to find a new Writers Club teacher by asking friends if they knew of an avid writer who had experience working with kids," Payne said. "I found out the brother of a close friend is a tutor, writer and active blogger who has worked with kids throughout his career and was excited about teaching the class."

The Writers Club class is taught by Keeler Cox.

Payne said her daughter has taken the classes for the past four years at Wickliffe.

"I see ASD as a wonderful way to 'switch up' her school experience," she said. "She is always excited about going to the classes and I can certainly say she has learned new skills, gained confidence and learned to interact with her peers even better."

Her daughter agrees.

"ASD classes are really fun and you look forward to going to the classes all day," Kate said.

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