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Lula Elementary teams with Boys & Girls Clubs for after-school services
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Maddy Thomas, right, and Deanna Dale, take part in after-school activities Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in the Lula Elementary gymnasium. The school is now operating its after-school activities with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier. - photo by Scott Rogers

“Hop!” one student screamed.

“Hurry!” cried out another.

“Go as fast as you can!” hollered a third.

On Monday, Aug. 20, these Lula Elementary students were engaged in a raucous game of “Rock-Paper-Scissors-Hula Hoop” — which adds the element of a race and team competition to the classic game of chance — as part of a new after-school program operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier.

Previously, the school partnered with the J.A. Walters Family YMCA to offer after-school services.

“We continue to be very pleased with the care provided by the YMCA,” said Jo Dinnan, director of elementary education for Hall County Schools. “In certain situations, we have utilized the Boys & Girls Clubs after-school care, as well.”

Of the 20 elementary schools in the district, 15 continue to partner with the YMCA for their after-school programs, according to Dinnan.

Lula joins Lyman Hall, Chicopee Woods, White Sulphur and Tadmore elementary schools in partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs.

The change at Lula for this academic year, Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield said, is designed to tap the resources of both organizations “to ensure we have as many opportunities as possible” for students.

In addition to regular exercise and nutritious snacks, the Boys & Girls Clubs fee-based program at Lula also includes a math and reading “power hour” and tutoring sessions three afternoons a week.

“There was a need to serve kids in that school and that community,” the clubs’ Chief Executive Officer Steven Mickens said.

The after-school program can help adjust a students’ behavior or assist them in catching up when their grades are falling, he added.

“The teachers do an excellent job teaching kids,” Mickens said, noting that the Boys & Girls Clubs works to inspire a love of learning in students.

Mickens added that his organization exists to prepare students for success in and out of the classroom through social development and leadership training.

Mary Modlin, Boys & Girls Clubs site coordinator at Lula Elementary, said 60 students had signed up for the after-school services, and the average daily attendance has been 51 students.

Principal Theresa London said she is pleased with the after-school program thus far, receiving many positive responses from students and parents.

“(The Boys & Girls Clubs) have been easy to work with and are meeting the needs of our community,” she added.

Dinnan said Hall County Schools is “blessed … to have access to two phenomenal after-school programs. Both have focused goals on making sure that our families are supported with well-run and affordable after-school programs. We work well with both partnerships and appreciate their support of our boys and girls.”

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