Michael Kalanquin spends a lot of time in school doing his homework and by Friday afternoon, he’s ready to unwind. But until recently there wasn’t much to do so Kalanquin decided to take things into his own hands.
Kalanquin, a middle school student at Whitehall High School, recently organized a new club designed specifically to give he and his peers something to do on Fridays.
“I thought we should have a relaxing day at the end of the week where we could have fun and unwind,” he said.
Kalanquin worked with Jr. High guidance counselor Topher Montville to organize the newest after school activity at WHS, Friday Fun Club.
He thought of activities, collected signatures and helped come up with a time to meet and the club was born.
“The basic idea is just to have fun,” Kalanquin said.
Each Friday, students in grades 6, 7 and 8 gather in a classroom to play board games, make crafts, read or socialize with friends.
“The goal is to give the kids a chance to have fun,” Montville said. “They work all week and this is a chance to do some fun activities.”
The club, which will meet for the third time tomorrow, has been met with a great deal of enthusiasm by students in the first three weeks. Approximately 30 kids attended the inaugural meeting earlier this month and 23 kids attended last week’s event.
Last Friday, students played chess, Monopoly, and made stress balls from balloons and flour. Other activities will include outdoor games (weather permitting) and “Guitar Hero” sessions.
And while the club is mostly fun and games for students, they are unwittingly learning more about socializing with their peers.
“There are some groups in here who don’t always get along, but you don’t see any problems or name calling. It teaches them social skills and how to interact appropriately,” Montville said.
The students also learn how to deal with distractions, which Montville said is a lesson that can extend to their homework.
“There are a lot of distractions but they still have fun and when I meet with them I can say ‘you had distractions but still you have to get your work done,’” he said.
The club meets from 2:15 to 3 p.m. each Friday. Students are asked to sign up with Montville if they plan to attend. Most students can arrange to take the elementary bus home afterwards.