Academics and arts blossom at Ames High

Everyday, many students throughout Ames High head to their art classes, where they are free to express their creativity through visual mediums. Other students choose to channel their talents through extracurricular activities. In a time when budgets are becoming increasingly tighter, it is easy for these arts and academic activities to fall lower on the list of priorities. Fortunately, the Ames High Academic and Arts Booster Club is helping ensure that these activities remain an important aspect of the high school. The Ames High Academic and Arts Booster Club, or AABC, supports the arts and academic activities at Ames High by promoting and providing funding for these activities. Made up of teachers, parents, and students, the AABC is truly part of a community effort to help highlight arts and academics in a time when they are often overlooked. “AABC provides parents and community members a clear channel for supporting these activities at AHS.” said Mary Darrow, who is currently president of the AABC. In the past few years, the AABC has awarded funding to various extracurricular activities, including Speech Club, Debate Club, National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl, Science Olympiad, Destination Imagination, and The WEB. Clubs that have received funding from the Academic and Arts Booster Club have been grateful for its help. “AABC has been a great help to Speech Club by donating funds, which is especially important in times of budget cuts and higher expenses, such as gas and entry fees,” Speech Club coach Chuck Ripley said. “It’s great to have them back us up.” The art department at Ames High has also received support from the AABC. Last year, the department was awarded a grant to buy a digital SLR camera, which is now being used frequently to take pictures of students’ art submissions for scholastic art competitions. Another portion of the grant is designated for a photo-taking station, a place where students can take photographs of their art work. It is planned to be set up sometime in the near future. Funding for these awards come completely from outside donations and fundraising. The Academic and Arts Booster Club has sponsored various events in order to raise money for the grants that they award. One notable example was the Open Mike Night at Cafe Diem on January 10, which allowed students and faculty to display their talents through poetry and music. Another Open Mike Night is scheduled to be on February 28th, again at Cafe Diem. AABC also supports the Coffeehouses that occasionally take place during the lunch hour throughout the school year. As of now, the AABC is comprised mainly of parents of current and former Ames High students, but the AABC is also eager to have new members. “[W]e would love to expand our membership to include other people, organizations, or businesses in the community that would like to ‘Help Talent Shine’ at AHS,” Darrow said. “We’re a small dedicated group that would love to grow.” Anybody within the community is welcome to become a member of the Booster Club. Students who are interested in finding out more and getting in touch with the Academic and Arts Booster Club can visit its website at Students can also get more information through senior Kelly Grogg, who is a student representative of AABC. Though the arts and academics of Ames High may not be as high-profile as other programs within the school, the AABC is making a valid effort to make sure that these activities get the support they need. Though there are still goals to be reached, the AABC’s effort has been paying off, and its assistance has been well-received. “I’m really appreciative of their help and support,” art teacher Sandy Quintero said.