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NASHOBA PUBLISHING/DIANE BEAUDOIN

After-School Enrichment Program Coordinator Rick Maino stands with Hawthorne Brook Middle School weightlifter Ross Watson. Watson is looking to break his own weightlifting record during the program this year.

TOWNSEND — The After-School Enrichment Program has begun at Hawthorne Brook Middle School, and one record for weightlifting is on the verge of being shattered.

Many of the activities the program provides help the students get involved in things they normally wouldn’t have the chance to, said Coordinator Rick Maino, and weightlifting is one such program.

“Student Ross Watson holds the school record, and he is once again involved in the program and is going to attempt to break his own record this cycle,” he said.

Watson’s record last year was 75 pounds for 35 repetitions in bench-pressing. This year he is looking at 150 pounds with 10 repetitions.

“I’m competing with the gym teacher, Mr. (Michael) Caravella this year, and I really want to beat him,” said Watson.

Other activities the students can do in the program are theater, creative writing, arts and crafts, and biking, said Maino.

“We change it every cycle of the school year, doing one in the fall, one in winter and one in spring,” he said. “We look for teachers with special talents that they would like to work with the students at.”

Past programs include cooking, knitting and playing Scrabble.

“Those teachers are not available right now, but we’ll see in the winter,” said Maino.

The program runs differently than organized sports or team games.

“This gives the students that aren’t into things like football or group participation a chance to do something after school as well,” said Maino. “It’s a great and unique program that we’ve had success with, and it expands the horizons of whatever students are interested in.”

For biking, the students have access to the Life Course, which is on the school grounds. At one point, he said, they will ride their bikes through some of the State Forest that Townsend is so noted for.

“What better place to start out than on the Life Course which is right here. We are about the only ones that have a course like that on the campus,” he said. “We also have so much state forest we may as well take advantage of it.”

Students that participate can take a late bus home from school at the end of the day.

“We have generated some excitement about what we can offer these students, and last year the response was very good, and it seems this year will be as good if not better,” said Maino.

The enrichment program will be held every Tuesday and Thursday after school in six-week cycles.

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