BRAWLEY – Staying after school isn’t what it used to be, in fact, there is a waiting list at some Brawley Elementary School sites. Yes, you read right, kids lining up to fill the 100 slots per school for the ASES afterschool program.
Thursday, October 23, the Afterschool Education and Safety program, or better known by its acronym, ASES, participated in a nationwide event of showcasing to parents what their kids did every afternoon.
Izzy Vasquez, 11, a Barbara Worth 7th grader, was lathering gray grout on his custom made stepping-stone. He previously had watched a video explaining how to do a mosaic, securing stones and tiles in an artistic fashion, using all the space through design, grouting the tiles, then washing off the grout, and finally letting the finished project dry in the sun.
As Vasquez took his wet sponge and removed the excess grout, his exuberance accidently dislodged a marble. That did not happen in the instructional video he just watched. However, his afterschool teacher, and video maker, Eddie Shiffer, was right there to guide him through the repair work.
In another room, robotic instructions were displayed on an array of computers as boys and girls compared the models they were building with the ones on the screens. Brian Chavez, 13, Alfredo Sanchez, 12 and Richard Avila, 13, all 8th graders, were constructing a robotic vehicle capable of traversing all terrains, complete with three motors and a gear system.
Israel Ruiz, 13, said, “This is pretty fun. When the robots are done, we play with them. Right now, I’m making a spinning top to go on the all-terrain robotic vehicle.
Even after completion, the model would not function until their instructor, Able Trujillo, programed the robot with Java Script.
Trujillo said, “I’m fluent in four languages, Java, Visual Basic, C++, and binary code.”
One robotic project was programmed and playable. At least to the students, it seemed like play. The robot made several sounds and had moving parts, all to distract the two players, because once a certain sound came on, both hit their buttons and the first to react, won. The best out of three was declared the winner.
When the robotics program ends in a few weeks, the students will move on to a computer lab where they learned to repair computers, write code, and build programs.
Selina Salgado, coordinator of the after school program, said there was still another room where children were learning art graphics, PowerPoint and other computer skills.
Salgado said, “Historically, the Barbara Worth after school program had trouble enrolling 100 students. At this age we are competing with after school sports, band and many other activities. However, we are at our highest enrollment and think we will reach 100 before too long.”