As part of our Back To School Giving Campaign through Oct. 13, Civic Nebraska is highlighting our outside-of-school programs and sharing what they see. Earlier this month, Grant Writer Alex Brechbill checked out Civic Nebraska’s CLC at Lincoln High School.
It was orientation day, and students were lively in the halls and morale was high. It’s evident that the resiliency of students is strong. As I walked down the halls with Haroon Al Hayder, Civic Nebraska’s CLC school community coordinator, his rapport with his students was on full display. They called him by his first name and asked him questions in passing; one student vulnerably asked, “Hey, can I just sit here and pass the time?” Of course, Haroon said – no questions asked.
Homework Zone was starting in the cafeteria, and students checked in at the front desk with CLC Program Assistant Abbie Deng. Students seeking some extra guidance with homework trickled in as instructors awaited them at their respective tables. The eSports program also was filled to the brim with 46 students registered, and several others were grabbing a bite to eat – Civic Nebraska offers brown-bag dinners for students who want one. Meanwhile, the Art Club was wrapping up some new painting projects.
Haroon said that all of the 22 clubs offered at the LHS CLC – Yezidi, Latino Leaders, Art Club, Homework Zone, eSports, Storytelling, and Lincoln High History, just to name a few – were all student-led and came to be through student surveys. Once a potential club gains enough interest, Haroon finds sponsors for them. The rest is history, and also a great example of how Civic Nebraska encourages students to lead the charge to build an after-school curriculum that reflects their interests.
A few weeks later, I stopped by the Latino Leadership club. Typically divided into boys and girls, this week the groups met as one. Students Molly and Lupe ran the program, kicking off by discussing highs and lows before moving into an exercise about identity. Molly made it clear that although you might not have a low, you should always have a high. That set a tone for the class and was a perfect emblem for our entire Lincoln High CLC.
– Alex Brechbill