• These Groesbeck ISD kindergarteners were happy to finish their homework and move onto playing with Play-Doh during the enrichment hour of the government funded ACE afterschool program under the watchful eye of GISD teacher Susan Loftice. Photo by Alexandra Cannon/Groesbeck Journal
  • In the Middle School Library, three GISD students (l to r) Kayla Hewitt, grade 9, Zack Zeman, grade 9 and Shelby Lundh, grade 9, began filling out all the necessary information to start the Driver’s Ed program ACE offers eligible students absolutely free. Photo by Alexandra Cannon/Groesbeck Journal
  • After receiving their snacks, students sat at tables marked with their grade to wait for ACE to get started, while teachers went around to make sure all students present were signed in. Kevin Waller, ACE site coordinator for Enge-Washington oversees grades PreK-4 through 6th; his responsibilities include planning activities for each of the 6 enrichment classes available to students, scheduling teachers for the program and ensuring kids get home safely when ACE ends each day. Photo by Alexandra Cannon/Groesbeck Journal

ACE Afterschool Program Enriches Lives of GISD Students

Future of program uncertain as grant expires with end of school year

By Alexandra Cannon, Staff Writer

At GISD, Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE) offers a safe, fun and educational way for students to spend a couple hours of their time before heading home from a regular school day. Available to students Pre-K-12, Monday through Thursday, the government-funded program offers students an hour to work on homework and an hour to participate in enrichment classes, which range from art to recreation to cooking. The program is split between two campuses to better service different age groups. ACE is a great option for parents who don’t get off work in time to pick up their kids from school or be home waiting when they get off the bus, especially when their kids are too young to be home alone. For older students, the after-school program offers exploration into subjects that could help them plan a career or post-high school graduation plan.

At the Enge-Washington campus, ACE coordinator Kevin Waller oversees grades PreK-4 through 6th, averaging about 150 kids participating per day. Students sign up for ACE at the beginning of the year, but the program isn’t mandatory so students have the freedom to stay or to head home right after the last bell. 

Every day, students spend one hour working on homework with GISD teachers standing by should they need help, and the other hour is spent in enrichment class, with the subjects rotating throughout the week. Two days they have P.E., and the other days, students enjoy challenging activities that are much more fun than homework.

“Robotics is a big hit actually right now, they use Dash and Dots and those things run around. We have iPod touches that they use to remotely play with them and it works on coding and stuff. So that's a big hit,” Waller said. “Cooking is also a big hit because of course, they do get to eat food that they make. Art is surprisingly popular too.”

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

Groesbeck Journal

P.O. Box 440
Groesbeck, TX 76642
Phone: 254-729-5103
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