Take your seat…class is about to begin! English, math, science and even PE–there’s time in the week for any subject in the book. But, what about the extracurriculars–those outside-the-classroom experiences that could set students apart from the rest and allow them to explore their passions outside of the textbook?
Local schools all around the city are offering courses and clubs for students looking to involve themselves in a well-rounded experience. From crafting to traveling to business making, these extracurriculars are so important to the overall development of your little one. By creating opportunities for kids to express their interests early with the support of classmates and teachers, these clubs and teams allow the most fulfilling enrichment without grading scale and testing pressures. Whether it’s for one semester or for four years, joining clubs and activities can lead to the best possible experience and ensure that students express themselves both in school, and in life. Here are a few of our local schools and the clubs that make them special.
The Lovett School
4075 Paces Ferry Road, N.W
Amigos Para Siempre Verde was led this past school year by alumna Camryn Bragg (’17) and rising senior Avery Newton. Both girls became interested in leading the club after they participated in a study abroad trip to Siempre Verde, Lovett’s 825-acre cloudforest property in Ecuador. Though the club was created to honor the study abroad program, any 9th-12th grade student was welcome to join the club, whether they had traveled to Ecuador or not. The club’s mission was to bring the experiences students had at Siempre Verde back to campus to encourage an interest in learning more about a culture different than our own. Amigos Para Siempre Verde is also responsible for many donations such as books, uniforms, and play materials for the local school children in Ecuador. Students who choose to participate in the study abroad program often work with these same school children and even have helped install new, safer playground equipment for them. Amigos Para Siempre Verde is one of many clubs to host a Parents’ Night Out fundraising event each year in which parents give money for student volunteers to plan a night of activities for their kids while they are kid-free for the night. All proceeds go to the clubs that offered volunteers for the night.
5405 Spalding Drive, Peachtree Corners
The Passport Club is an interactive way for 1st – 4th graders to self-study geography and cultures. Wesleyan is the only school in the state participating in the program.
Students choose their own pace, studying the location of five, 10, 15 or 25 countries each month and picking one country to study in-depth. Students are then quizzed about the countries and earn exciting rewards, including stamps for their “passport,” country flag pins for their lanyard, and special bucks for an end-of-the-year world market.
“Passport Club introduces our lower school students to the vast diversity of people and cultures around the world,” says Jason Scheer, Dean of Diversity. “This unique program is designed to spark a lifelong interest and appreciation for all of the world’s diverse cultures and prepares our students to thrive and grow in a wonderfully diverse world.”
Mill Springs Academy
13660 New Providence Road, Alpharetta
“CQ. This is WA4MSA calling CQ.” Since 2013, Mill Springs has had 30 7th and 8th grade students study for and pass the FCC’s Amateur Radio Operator’s license exam to become licensed operators as a part of the Mill Springs Amateur Radio Club (MSARC). “CQ” is ham radio speak meaning, “I am ‘seeking you’ to chat on the radio.”
The purpose of the MSARC is to foster a passion in the practical applications of science, technology, engineering, and math while having fun. This group provides opportunities to students to further their enjoyment of ham radios and any associated field. Students have presented projects, spoken about digital radio communications, and participated in many related events. Students are mentored by members of the North Fulton Amateur Radio League and have been invited to join them in community events all over metro Atlanta to demonstrate the amateur radio. Most notably, they were instrumental in helping the school contact Commander Chris Cassidy on board the International Space Station via amateur radio.
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School
510 Mt. Vernon Hwy, Sandy Springs
Mount Vernon’s Upper School students say they love the Business & Entrepreneurship Club. It is the most popular club at MVPS, and of the biggest reasons has to do with STORY. Not only do students meet important men and women from the Atlanta business community, but they also get to hear their personal stories about what it takes to achieve professional and personal success. Monthly meetings include A-list speakers allowing club members to rub elbows with the city’s movers and shakers including CEOs, NFL football agents, angel investors, a Zac Brown Band founder, an olympic swimmer, television sports reporters, and a chocolate company investor. In addition to hearing from many influential people in business, Mount Vernon’s Upper School Business & Entrepreneurship Club takes trips to Atlanta’s thriving corporations, where they learn stories of successes and challenges of starting and maintaining a business. The club was founded in 2010 by Miles Mallory (Class of 2012) and his father Tom Mallory.
4301 Northside Parkway, NW
With the addition of the Trinity Track in 2013, Every Lap Counts was initiated by P.E. teacher Justin Cahill to encourage students to gather together before school for some physical activity. Trinity School students in grades 1-6 are encouraged to run or walk as many laps as they want or can, with the ultimate goals to build confidence as their laps increase and to increase movement that positively impacts focus for learning. Parents, faculty, and staff are welcome to join students, who can track their progress over time. The club has also extended its focus to include healthy eating, goal setting, and movement challenges at home.
955 Peachtree Parkway, Cumming
Pinecrest Academy’s Crafters for a Cause Club was established as a service-oriented club, open to all high school students. The crafters have begun a tradition of creating “Senbazuru” or “1000 Paper Cranes for Peace” each school year. Each crane is made from a 3-inch square of origami paper. On the inside of each, Club members write a prayer for peace for each member nation of the United Nations, in their own languages and alphabets. These prayers are folded into cranes and strung on strings. The cranes are sent to Hiroshima, Japan, to join millions of other Senbazuru at the Children’s Peace Monument at the Peace Memorial Park. In response to the tragedies that occurred in Paris and Beirut in November 2016, the Club also created another “spiritual bouquet” of 1,000 Cranes for Peace to send to Paris and Beirut.
This tradition of “1,000 Paper Cranes” evolves from a Japanese legend which states that folding 1,000 origami cranes grants a wish. These cranes have become a symbol of peace through the story of World War II survivor Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who folded a thousand paper cranes to be granted the wish to live. The Crafters for a Cause Club also participates in other service projects, including crocheting and knitting hats and scarves for the Atlanta homeless.
966 W. Paces Ferry Road, NW
When Pace Academy teacher Keith Newman noticed that more boys than girls enrolled in AP economics, he joined forces with the school’s Isdell Center for Global Leadership and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey to launch Women Mentoring Women. The club, open to all young women in the Upper School, connects Pace students with young professional mentors at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Regular meetings focus on personal development, college/interview prep, technical and analytical skills and financial responsibility. The goal is to create an environment in which women can cultivate confidence and develop talents needed to succeed in high school, college and beyond.
Alpharetta High School
3595 Webb Bridge Rd, Alpharetta
Meet Unified Sports! Unified Sports will be kicking off the season with a flag football game with mixed teams of AHS football players and Special Olympic Athletes. Unified Raiders will offer opportunities for athletes to be a part of the AHS cross country team as well as the basketball cheerleading squad. There will also be Unified Special Olympic teams for volleyball and basketball, made up of athletes (CBI students) and Unified Partners (general education students). The teams will be coached by Peer Coaches (gen ed students) under the supervision of Amy Landi. Lunch events are back this year, with a pen pal activity once a month for students to write students at other schools. Additional activities include fall and spring dances, and special events for Exceptional Children’s Week.
1662 Rugby Avenue, College Park
6565 Boles Road, Johns Creek
Woodward Academy offers robotics clubs at every level, from Pre-k through 12th grade, as a cocurricular activity. The robust robotics programming provides a fundamental understanding of the systems that make up robotics and the development of workplace competencies. Students learn to apply techniques, skills, and technology to solve robotic engineering programs.
This past spring, Upper School Robotics Team qualified for the fourth consecutive year to advance to the Georgia State Championship, and then on to the VEX Robotics World Championship. Woodward was the only private school to have three of its robots qualify to compete at the World Championship.
5750 Long Island Dr., NW
Springmont’s Creek Kids, offered to 1st-3rd graders, occurs during the school day. Students may elect to use their daily mid-day recess time to care for the campus and the Long Island Watershed by testing the water in the creek and cleaning the debris that filters down from the expressway adjacent to Springmont’s woods. This club is part of Springmont’s Outdoor Education program, designed to promote Stewardship of the Environment, one of the school’s Core Values.
The Goddard School (Windward)
4875 Windward Parkway, Alpharetta
The Goddard School on Windward offers a chess program beginning in their preschool program. Chess enriches students through literacy-based STEAM learning to extend problem solving and critical thinking skills in a fun and interactive environment. Goddard also offers Yogaroo, a Yoga program, which encompasses all classrooms from infants through kindergartners.