Crystal Ketterman, Miranda Collecchi, and Jerod Moore kick back with Pac Man on the Playstation 2 at the new Teen Center opening Oct. 5. -LS

New Teen Center a big success

Taylor: Community Ed. changes abound

Community Education is turning a new leaf with all the changes that are happening – from a new Teen Center to extended homework hours.
Pat Taylor, director of Community Ed., was bubbling with excitement when she related the new changes the program has gone through. She plans activities after the holidays, talks of a computer club which teacher Gary Trozzo would supervise, and holding book discussions with students and teacher Jo Trozzo. Taylor has added two more people in the after-school program and is hoping for more.
“The main thing we are looking at now is how to sustain Community Ed. after grant money runs out in spring of 2004. We are concentrating quite a bit on that,” Taylor says.
The Teen Center opened Oct. 5 and both Taylor and Jo Trozzo thought it went great. Many of the high school and junior high kids thought the same, and Trozzo said she heard the junior high talking about it a lot in her classes. There was pizza, door prizes donated from various businesses, a pool and ping pong table, 2 TVs and a Playstation 2 game to keep the kids entertained.

Ping pong mania overtakes Kyle Ellis while others behind him enjoy a game of pool. - LS

The idea started with Taylor, Trozzo and former superintendent James Telles, while attending a conference in Seattle. Telles brought up how Little Dippers was closed during the winter and maybe the daycare facility could be used for the teens. Taylor said she and Trozzo “went crazy” with the idea and the city approved it, agreeing to pay for heating (which they now pay) and lighting. In return Taylor and Trozzo have to keep it clean and well-managed.
“We want it to be a place for the kids to hang out, eat, and have fun since there is virtually nothing else for them to do,” Taylor said.
Teen Night will be held every Friday and Saturday. Junior high will be there from 7-9 p.m., and high school, 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. A group of mainly sixth and seventh graders form the “Teen Center Board” who oversee the center, because they were the ones mainly interested in it. The board is contemplating a $5 cost to help with food expenses for “hamburger night,” and “pizza night” and may ask parents to donate chips, baked goods, etc. Students are free to make suggestions and they would love to have more input from the upper grades.
“The more we utilize the building, the better off it’ll be.” Taylor emphasizes. Trozzo agrees and says, “It seems to be off on the right foot.” – LUCIE STRAUB