SMS needs $25K to fund afterschool program

Published 12:01 am Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kennedy Smith and Charday Chatman work on a piece of Indian-inspired artwork at Straughn Middle School. | Kendra Bolling/Star-News

Straughn Middle School is in danger of losing its afterschool program if organizers cannot raise at least $25,000 in the coming months.

After school coordinator Paula Simpson said the school’s program has been funded through a 21st Century Learning Grant, a grant program designed to enrich students though extracurricular activities that complement their regular academic programs. for the past three years, but funding will end Sept. 30.

Simpson said students also pay a small fee to attend the program.

“However, the sustainability fund is not adequate enough to keep the program running for the upcoming year,” Simpson said. “Therefore, students will possibly lose resources along with enrichment activities.”

The program is open to all middle school students for two and a half hours after each school day during the school year, Simpson said. There are 53 on the roll for the program, but an average of 20 per day attend.

“Students are exposed to enrichment activities such as karate, guitar, piano, archery and yoga,” she said. “Students have access to two wireless mobile labs, three interactive white boards, large flat screen televisions, P.E. equipment, educational movies and videos, resources books on good study habits, test taking, character and books on tape.”

Simpson and her staff are working to solicit help from the community.

“The demise of this grant not only affects the students in the program, but the entire school,” she said. “We need to secure $25,000 to keep this program in operation for (the next school year).”

The needed $25,000 will go toward funding the program activities and paying afterschool employees.

Organizers are planning a large-scale communitywide carnival to help raise the funds.

“We desperately need help to pull this off,” Simpson said. “We are calling on all parents of Straughn School students, as well as friends and family of the Straughn community, to come out and lend a hand.”

A planning meeting will be held Thurs., June 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the SMS library for anyone interested in helping.

Simpson said school-aged children will be supervised in the gym during the meeting.

For more information call the school at 222-4090 or email Simpson at