It's game on each Wednesday afternoon at Brookpark Middle School.

The Grove City school has re-started its Game Club after a nearly two-year hiatus.

Each Wednesday for an hour after school, students are invited to gather together to play old-fashioned board games, including Sorry, Battleship, Jenga and Risk, assistant principal Chad Clark said.

The club is part of Brookpark's PBIS initiative, he said.

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support.

"All of the schools in South-Western do this. It's a state mandate," Clark said.

PBIS is a proactive approach schools use to promote positive behavior in their students, he said.

"Each school can take their own approach to implementing their own PBIS program," Clark said. "At Brookpark, we're really focused on encouraging positive interaction by students among themselves and with their teachers. We try to recognize the positive things that our students are doing each day at school.

"Part of PBIS is to build community among our students," he said.

The idea to restart the Game Club arose after Brookpark held a Community Night on Nov. 13, 2019, Clark said.

The evening offered a variety of family activities, including the chance to play board games together, he said.

"It went so well we realized this could be part of our PBIS program," Clark said.

Students aren't just having fun at the end of a school day, he said.

Playing games also helps students experience positive social interaction and learn to play by the rules and cooperate, Clark said.

"There's no regular adviser for Game Club," he said. "We have a rotating group of teachers who are volunteering to help run the program each week."

Another benefit is that students have a chance to interact with their teachers in a more informal, less-pressured atmosphere, which may pay dividends in the classroom, Clark said.

About three to five students participated in the initial sessions when the club began meeting at the start of February, but the Feb. 26 session drew about a dozen participants.

"Word of mouth is helping as more students tell their friends about it," Clark said. "I think we'll see more and more students being part of Game Club."

Seventh-grader Shawn Northrod and eighth-grader Gavin Ulry were intensely playing a game of Jenga on Feb. 26.

The Game Club "is fun way to hang out with your friends," Shawn said.

"It's a little relief from some of the stress of school," Gavin said.

Eighth-grader Lorali Litman and seventh-grader Melissa Baker were trying to sink each other's ship as they played the game Battleship.

"I like that this gives us a way to get together to play some games after school," Melissa said. "It's some free time."

"It's a chance to get away from it all for an hour," Lorali said. "You can get away from family problems, you know, your little brother or sister, your siblings."

Game Club is fun, but there also is some friendly competition, too, she said.

"You want a little bit of both -- to have fun and to win," Lorali said.

"But it never gets too tense," she said.

Battleship is among her favorite games, Melissa said.

"The best part is when I get to sink her battleship," she said, pointing toward Lorali with a grin.

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