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Talent Show at William Halley

After School Program presents end-of-semester show.

A group of guitarists take the stage to show their musical skills as the crowd sings along.

A group of guitarists take the stage to show their musical skills as the crowd sings along. Photo by Jennifer Benitz

Students of the Hornet’s Nest After School Program at William Halley Elementary School put on an informal performance show to wrap up the program for the fall semester on Thursday, Dec. 6.

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A girls’ hip hop group performs on stage.

Coordinated by the Lorton Action Community Center and WHES counselors, the after school program runs for 10 weeks in the semester and is comprised of fourth through sixth grade students. The program ran two days a week from 4-5:30 p.m. The first 20-30 minutes was allotted to give students time to complete homework, have a snack and talk amongst peers, while the remaining time was allotted to an activity. Under the supervision and guidance of teachers, the students spent time doing something they enjoyed in an activity group, such as cooking and crafts, dance, technology, kickball, cheerleading and guitar.

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From left—Griffin Morris and Christian Roblest, both 9, enjoyed some snacks and relaxation time before the talent show.

“We decided a couple weeks ago that it’d be nice for the kids to show what they’ve learned, so we put together an impromptu talent show,” said LCAC Executive Director Linda Patterson. “It’s been really great. I just love seeing the kids get so excited over this.”

The talent show consisted of two dance numbers, a guitar show, dance tutorial and a slideshow of pictures. Parents, students and members of SAC, an unaffiliated after-school program also hosted in William Halley, watched and cheered as the acts took to the stage. The first three acts included two hip hop groups and a WHES club, Girl Power—a club enhancing female leadership skills and roles, performing three different dance routines. The fourth act consisted of a group of students performing sing-along songs, such as Jingle Bells, while showing what they’ve learned over the past weeks as they played one song after another with their guitars. Last, but not least, the fifth act consisted of the dance groups getting together to teach the audience a line dance routine.

Cheers, laughter and applause wrapped up the first portion of the show. As the slideshow was prepared, students and parents alike found seats closer to the screen. The slide, which was put together by one of the program’s sponsors, Chris Bachman, comprised pictures from the course of the program’s 10-week run while music played in the background.

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Kate Crane, the school's counselor, is responsible for coordinating the program.

“We wanted our kids to have something meaningful to do after school,” said Kate Crane, one of the WHES members responsible for coordinating the program. “We wanted to open them up to new experiences and give them the chance to meet other kids and teachers, and just have fun in a safe environment.”

Thursday concluded the program’s first semester and proved to be a major success for the school. LCAC approached William Halley Elementary School in recent months to see if bringing back an after school program would be possible, but with the help of the organization.

The future and expansion of the program relies largely on sponsors, donations and volunteers. With the start of the program in October, LCAC found sponsors willing to donate funding and food, and bus drivers to drive the students home after the program so that students whose parents couldn’t pick them up after school for various reasons still had the opportunity to participate.

“I’d love to see the whole school participate,” said Patterson. “We need to build this. We are hoping to do this again in the spring and we’re shooting to start in late February or early March,” said Patterson. “We want to expand to more kids in the school. We’re only limited by funding.”