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By: Tim Chai <tchai@hilite.org>

Clapping his hands in front of the middle school students, senior Jesse Mentz leads them in worship during a middle school Student Venture meeting.

“I’ve been going to the middle schools (for two years) as a freshman and as a sophomore,” Mentz said. “We lead a lot of the activities like games, food and worship.”

Following the implementation of weighted grades and new graduation requirements this year, more clubs and organizations will send members from this school to the three middle schools to promote their programs.

Along with Student Venture, other clubs like the Tech Hounds and Color Guard will visit the middle schools as well.

In addition, according to communications department chairperson Bonnie Grimble, electives like the Pinnacle will send students to the middle schools.          

“Many of the departments like industrial technology, business, communications and performing arts will start to send students to the middle schools to educate and inform,” Grimble said. “We like to look at this as a method of getting information about our programs to future Carmel students.”

According to Grimble, her department did not plan to send representatives to the middle schools until early this school year.

“The new state law changing the graduation requirements starting with the Class of ‘11 will decrease the number of electives several students can take,” Grimble said. “They don’t have as much ‘wiggle room’ as before, so our job is to make sure they know everything they can to make the right decision. They don’t have the opportunity to explore different electives like the students in previous yeras had. ”

Mentz also said he believed going to the middle schools is a good way to get prospective future club members involved and better acquainted with the high school leaders.

“We try to give them more information about Student Venture. They get to better understand Student Venture and its purpose,” Mentz said. “Also, if they do see some high school students involved in the program, it gives them something to look a t, and hopefully they’ll say, ‘Hey, once we get to Carmel, this is something we can be involved in too.’”

Letitia “Tish” Li, color guard member and freshman, said she received information about the program when veteran guard members came to Creekside Middle School to give demonstrations and pass out flyers.

“They came and did a few tosses with the flags. Mostly, they spent the time passing out flyers to those who were interested in trying out in April,” Li said. “There were several people from Creekside who came, but a lot of people from Clay and Carmel (Middle Schools), who I am sure found out about the program from members going to the school and passing out flyers, came.”

Li said she thinks going to the middle schools is an effective way for high school clubs and organizations to get information about extracurricular activities to the future freshmen students.

“I think it was very successful actually. In fact, there are talks about starting a guard program in the middle schools,” she said.

Student Venture director Brian Clark said, “If they have a positive experience in middle school with the high school students, they usually will want to tell other people about it and get them involved in (Student Venture) as well.”

Grimble said, “Our primary goal is to make the incoming freshman aware of what electives are available.

Now, with the new graduation requirements, the menu is still big but they don’t have as many choices.

“Because the school starts preparing to schedule the incoming freshman in the winter, now is the time to act. The window of opportunity is wide open right now.”

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