Emmett Richardson, a student a Dirigo Elementary School, rides a bike on a trainer provided by the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go program at Mountain Valley Middle School on Thursday night. The Western Foothills Kids Association held a Lights On Afterschool event at Mountain Valley Middle School. Lights On Afterschool celebrations are held nationwide to spotlight the ways after-school programs support students, families and communities. (Marianne Hutchinson, Rumford Falls Times)

MEXICO — Mountain Valley Middle School students and their families were given opportunities Thursday night to try remote control robots, pedal a bike that can power a blender and show off their improvisational acting skills.

Such activities are part of the Western Foothills Kids Association after-school program at Dirigo Elementary School and Mountain Valley Middle School.

The program held a gathering Thursday night, called “Lights On Afterschool,” to share certain student activities with the community.

Miki Skehan, director of WFKA, said the event was to “put out the importance of after-school programming to children and families.”

By participating in the program, students receive help with their homework and, following that, they may choose from a variety of activities, including robotics and other science, technology, engineering and math, improvisational acting, cooking, art, graphic design and photography.

In 2017, a Market Decision Research evaluation conducted on after-school programs in Maine found low-performing students who regularly attended such programs saw improvements in their academics and classroom behavior, Skehan said.

The report showed math assessment scores improved by 71 percent, and reading assessment scores improved by 64 percent.

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Jeff Bailey, a technology teacher at Mountain Valley High School, tells Marques Francois, a student at Dirigo Elementary School, about the robots Bailey brought to the Western Foothills Kids Association Lights On Afterschool event Thursday night at Mountain Valley Middle School. Students were allowed to try remote controlled robots. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Quinn Collins, left, and Kayden Laliberty work with Legos at the Western Foothills Kids Association Lights On Afterschool event at Mountain Valley Middle School on Thursday night. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)


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