Four days after the beginning of the new school year, on September 13, Orangethorpe Learning Center opened its doors to the children of its neighborhood. Twenty-seven students arrived on that first day. It was good to see so many of our friends once again. Joshua and Toñito could hardly wait for us to let them in. Amanda arrived next, dragging the biggest backpack we've ever seen. Jaime came in and went right to work on his tough sixth grade assignments. Several new kids and their parents lined up, not quite sure what to expect.
Since that day, we've had an average attendance of 34 students per day. Some days we've had as many as 50 children present. Almost every day, a new student registers. We feel good knowing that many of our students are telling their friends about us. Also, teachers at Orangethorpe School are telling their students that OLC is a good place to go when they need help with their homework.
On Thursday, November 4, at 4:30 pm, we will have a meeting for all parents of Learning Center children. Ann Rose, the Vice Principal of Orangethorpe School, said she would be very glad to come to our meeting to answer any questions you might have. She is especially interested in explaining the new California laws concerning retention of children who aren't working at grade level. Your questions are welcome! Even if your child attends some other school, you should come to this meeting, since the new laws affect schools throughout the state. We will provide English-Spanish translation.
A student who came to us this year for the first time is Justin Hambey, who is in the 4th grade at Dysinger School. His mom was very worried about Justin because he wouldn't do his homework for her, but then Justin's grandma, Edie, suggested that he should go to the homework center at her church. Ever since Justin started attending OLC, he's been finishing all his assignments and is doing a lot better at school. Justin also enjoys playing soccer, but is more interested in singing and dancing. We've enjoyed watching him perform in the Christmas program each year at Orangethorpe United Methodist Church. Justin says he's a big fan of N Sync.
Jaime and Justin are just two of the many students, old and new, who come to OLC for help with homework. If our readers know of other children who are easily distracted or who won't do their homework at home, please let them know about Orangethorpe Learning Center. Each child who comes to us is very special and we will do everything we can to help him or her to do better at school.
Thank you, St. Jude!
Last summer, for the second year in a row, St. Jude Medical Center sponsored Dinosaur Park Summer Camp. About fifty children, including many of our OLC friends, attended three days a week for ten weeks. Dinosaur Park included a lot of fun activities, field trips, and just enough reading and math practice to help our kids get ready to go back to school this Fall.
St. Jude is now giving karate classes for children every Tuesday and Thursday after Learning Center which are very popular and well-attended. Several St. Jude employees, led by Kathy Hight, are serving as volunteer tutors each afternoon in OLC. St. Jude just renewed its very generous financial support of OLC for another year. Thank you, St. Jude, for everything you do!
Orangethorpe Learning Center would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of our friends who serve as volunteer tutors. Some of these volunteers are members of our sponsoring churches, some are sent to us by St. Jude Medical Center, and others live in our neighborhood.
We say goodbye to former volunteers Annabelle Staines and Bob Biscailuz who were married during the Summer and have moved away to their new home. We'll miss both of you! Several new volunteers have joined our team this Fall, such as Quent Edwards, Gretchen Follett, Mabel Lovgren, Neita Mayster, Edna Olney, Richard Stein and Bill Yee. Welcome aboard!
This year, we have been helped very much by several mothers, and one grandmother, of our children. This group has played a very big role in keeping OLC going from day to day. Recently, we've seen Elvira Barbayanni, Gilda Cota, Zoila Escobar, Verónica Gómez, Margareta Iancului, Aydé Pacheco, Tomasa Rivera, María Bertilia Solares, and several others helping in OLC.
We thank each of you for giving of your time and energy to help our children. If you haven't already joined our volunteer team and would like to do so, please come to OLC and speak to our Director, Norm Todd, or our parent volunteer coordinator, María Bertilia Solares.
On Wednesdays, Orangethorpe School closes early. In the past, some kids didn't have anything worthwhile to do between school and Learning Center. This year, we are pleased to offer "Wonderful Wednesday" programs at OLC between 1:30 and 2:30 pm, with educational videos and other healthy activities. We were glad to see that several children, such as William, Jesse, Carole and Amanda are attending very regularly and enthusiastically. Thank you Norm, for taping programs from the Discovery and History channels and organizing this program.
On Thursday afternoons, students who have finished their homework for the week may participate in our crafts program, which is being supervised by Patricia Baird and Margareta Iancului. When Christmas approaches, we will offer music classes so that all children may learn Christmas carols. Parents, you are welcome to help us teach the children the traditional Christmas music from your countries.
New Computer at OLC!
It was a pleasant surprise to us when our friends Don and Karen Evarts visited the Learning Center to donate a beautiful Mac Performa computer. Our students didn't waste any time figuring out how to play its "Super Munchers" vocabulary game. Thank you, Don and Karen!
Among the rules of the Learning Center is one which says "No Toys" and that includes Pokemon.
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