Soehl Middle School students and staff can now find daily inspiration in the hallways.  21st Century Community Learning Center students are using their artistic skills to paint ceiling tiles throughout the building.  These decorated tiles, with their motivational quotes and messages, provide encouragement to all lucky passersby.

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On December 14, the 21st Century Community Learning Center converted the Soehl Middle School cafeteria into a giant art studio for Family Paint Night.  Students and their families took a painting class led by Ms. Garcia, a 21st Century teacher and artist.  Each painter transformed a blank canvas into a colorful winter wonderland.  At the end of the night, every artist took home their individual masterpiece, suitable for framing!

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On December 10, the 21st Century Community Learning Center hosted a fun-filled Family Bowling Day at Linden Lanes.  Students and their families were treated to two hours of open bowling.  They also enjoyed a tasty lunch.  Program families welcomed this opportunity to meet, mingle and make new friends.

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The 21st Century Community Learning Center recently returned to the Fire Me Up Art Studio in Cranford.  Students picked out a plate or a mug, and the Fire Me Up staff presented a paper masking technique.  After their work was glazed and fired, our young artists had a unique gift to take home for the holidays.

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On November 21, the Liberty Science Center visited the 21st Century Community Learning Center.  Program students attended an interactive ‘Science Sportacular’ assembly.  The assembly focused on key concepts from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  The LSC volunteers proved that all sports have one thing in common, and that one thing is science.

Students learned the science behind how a pitcher makes a baseball curve and how cause-and-effect works with sports equipment.  They also had the opportunity to join in a momentum race.  LSC staff even demonstrated the science behind helmet safety by lying on a bed of sharp nails!  No tricks or illusions, just pure science.

For more information about the Liberty Science Center, please visit their website -
Liberty Science Center


Yaman Ozturk


Sydney Altidor and Vanderly Jasmin


Xavier McClain


Fatima Hussein and Frotz Eugene


Zachary Valentin

The 21st Century Community Learning Center is coordinating a pet supply drive to support the Friends of Linden Animal Shelter (FOLAS).  This shelter is an all-volunteer non-profit animal rescue.  FOLAS needs a variety of items for their cats and dogs including blankets, coats, food, treats, leashes, paper towels, paper plates, cat litter and yarn.  The after-school program will collect these supplies throughout the year and make monthly trips to the shelter.  All donations can be dropped off at Soehl Middle School.

Pictured below are 7th-graders Danae Doyle and Lucas Prendez packing up some recently collected items.


The 21st Century Community Learning Center will coordinate a ‘Gently Used Coat Drive’ during the month of November.  After-school participants are collecting new and used coats for women, men and children.  All coats will be given to Jersey Cares and then distributed to area shelters and outreach centers.  As part of the ‘Note in a Coat’ project, program students are also writing uplifting and encouraging letters or poems to be tucked in each coat’s pocket.  Donations can be dropped off at Soehl Middle School until November 30th.


Pictured above (left to right) are Eddy Charles, Lauren Almeida and Taylon Connikie.

On Thursday, October 26, the 21st Century Community Learning Center coordinated a Family Yoga Night in continued celebration of the ‘Lights On After School’ initiative.  Over sixty people attended the event held in the Soehl Middle School gymnasium.  Gertrude Scocozza, a certified Yoga Instructor, led an hour-long class for students and their families.

Participants learned a variety of yoga poses that integrate breathing and movement.  When class was over, everyone headed to the cafeteria where staff member Elizabeth James served a buffet of salads and other healthy treats.  The evening ended with a raffle, and several lucky winners took home yoga-themed prizes.

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The 21st Century Community Learning Center recently coordinated a class trip to the Fire Me Up Art Studio in Cranford.  Students and their families participated in a fall-themed painting class.  Pictured below are Sophia Molina and Yadira Marshall with their not-so-scary scarecrows.

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The 21st Century Community Learning Center coordinated a poster contest to support the ‘Lights On After School’ initiative.  Students had to create a poster that reflected their after-school experience.  Six winners were selected for their creativity, and the posters will be on display at Soehl Middle School.  Winners received a pizza party, certificate and a gift card for all their hard work.

Launched in October 2000, Lights On After School is the only nationwide event celebrating after-school programs and their role in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families.  This campaign has become a hallmark of the after-school movement and sees more than 1 million Americans celebrate at more than 8,000 events across the country. 

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Pictured above (left to right) are Tyasia Knight, Fatime Hussein, Abigail Meima, Romina Justiniano, and Jaina Martin-Cooper.