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Friendship Students Enjoy A Friday of Stay and Play

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Question: What could make 228 junior high kids want to stay after school on a Friday afternoon?
Answer: Stay and Play at Friendship Junior High.

On Friday, December 1, Friendship had one of its three annual after-school “Stay and Play” events, where all students are invited to stay after school hours and participate in a variety of activities.

Bill Timmins, assistant principal at Friendship, says the staff came up with the idea for Stay and Play after discussions on how to help students feel involved and connected to their school, and the school has done them for many years now. “We incorporated the idea into our building’s learning beliefs, that students learn best when they feel safe and welcomed at school, and having that connection is crucial for that to happen,” he said.

A large part of the school remained open after the final bell, and students walked from room to room and participated in many different activities in the course of one event. Ten staff members ran the games concurrently, including activities such as basketball, ladder golf, box hockey, beanbag toss, ping pong, a large variety of board games, and many others.

The PTO provided free refreshments, and Friendship’s student senate had additional treats available for purchase to the students. The cafeteria was left open as a place where students could group together to hang out and socialize.

According to Friendship’s Language Arts Teacher Sarah Spoerlein, who coordinates the event, Stay and Play is always a huge draw because it offers students unique opportunities outside their normal school day. “It provides students the opportunity to gather with peers they might not get to see during their regular schedules or activities,” she said. “It is extremely laid back, and the students are able to move from activity to activity at their own leisure.”

Jodi Megerle, principal at Friendship, said it is important for students to be able to explore their interests and Stay and Play offers them a lot of choices.

“This is an after-school event our students really love,” she said. “They enjoy the freedom of moving freely about parts of the school and trying different things with their peers. We really want kids to feel connected to school and get involved in trying a variety of activities that may be quite different than those they traditionally do.”

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