WORCESTER – Over the next two years, students at University Park Campus School will have the opportunity to learn to dance, play games like Dungeons and Dragons and take field trips around the Commonwealth thanks to a donation from $100,000 donated to Clark University.
The grant, provided by the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation of Worcester, will allow the university to fund extracurricular after-school programs and field trips for UPCS students.
“Being off campus is expensive. The bus, obviously the price of gas, all of that is really expensive,” said Daniel St. Louis, director of UPCS. “To have that money sitting there, waiting to see what we can dream of doing with it, it’s going to be really fun to figure that out.”
The school, which was co-founded by Clark University and Worcester Public Schools in 1997, is physically located on the Clark campus and has worked with the university administration over the years.
When President David Fithian took office, St. Louis said, he wanted to make an effort to help expand co-curricular and extracurricular activities for students.
After securing the funding, Fithian immediately began brainstorming ideas for field trips for the students, including taking them to Woods Hole at the Institute of Oceanography, St. Louis said.
“He has connections at the marine biology lab…and his first thought was, ‘Oh my God, let’s take the kids to Woods Hole, see how they do real biology research there, and spend the night.'” , said St. Louis said.
The funding, he said, will allow them to take students to learning spaces, like the marine biology lab, or on outdoor outings to hike mountains or explore places. other landscapes.
Along with field trips, students will be able to participate in faculty-led extracurricular activities and clubs, and even get their input on what’s on offer, such as esports and gaming, or an anime club. .
“Traditionally, I don’t really have the money for something like that, but I say, ‘Sure, find some leadership, get a teacher to say they’ll hang out with you, and yes, we can. have an anime club,’ St. Louis said. “To make this opportunity more explicit, asking kids what they can find, I think is going to be exciting.”
He said academics will also be the focus of after-school programming, with offerings such as tutoring, homework help and book clubs available to students.
Opportunities to offer seminars focused on topics, such as personal finance, will also become a possibility for students, not only for upper grades, but also for younger grades.
“If we could do some kind of mini-seminars that would have kids of mixed levels so the younger ones don’t have to wait until they’re juniors or seniors to study something like economics…I think those academics the opportunities are going to be great,” St. Louis said.
In a university press release, Fithian said the Fuller Foundation donation will have an “immediate and tangible” impact on UCPS students.
“We are extremely grateful to the trustees of the Fuller Foundation for recognizing the value of creating meaningful opportunities to enrich and amplify the educational experience of students, and for giving Clark the resources to help bring these to fruition. opportunities at UPCS,” he said.
St. Louis said he also has “deep gratitude” for the Fuller Foundation, and that after putting his partnership with Clark on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this new funding represents a “rejuvenation.” for schools.
“I think it’s going to be an assortment of diverse opportunities,” St. Louis said.