BYU athletic teams ‘focus’ on local community


    By Lisa Thompson

    Members of the BYU volleyball team participated in one of a series of activities designed to motivate and inspire members of the youth correction class at Centennial Middle School Friday, Oct. 24.

    The volleyball team taught the students how to bump, set and spike while engaging them in friendly competition.

    Teacher Cheryl Thompson said the students enjoy participating in activities that bring BYU groups to her class. Previous activities have involved members of the BYU Law School and the BYU basketball team.

    “BYU has been good to us,” she said. “The kids love it.”

    The class is called FOCUS, a youth correction class consisting of students with behavior problems from throughout the Provo School District.

    Students in the class often come from group homes, foster care and proctor care. Unlike foster care, which provides homes for children who have been abused or neglected, proctor care provides homes for children who have been abusive or rebellious.

    “In most school districts they suspend these kids,” Thompson said. “But this way we can help give them what they need. We give them 45 days at this program and try to get them back to their school.”

    As the students progress in their behavior, academics and attendance, they are mainstreamed into Centennial Middle School. If they do well, they go back to their neighborhood school, Thompson said.

    Although the FOCUS program is housed in Centennial Middle School, it is not considered part of the school. For years it rotated back and fourth between middle schools.

    “The program worked really well here so they let us stay,” Thompson said. “This is our fourth year here.”

    Teacher”s aid Brent Crandal, a senior from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., majoring in psychology, said he thinks kids in the program often get a bad rap before they are enrolled in the class.

    “These are nice kids,” he said. “Sometimes they just have bad habits. They”re trying to fix their habits and this program is really good at helping them do that.”

    Crandal arranged the volleyball player”s visit in hopes that it would help the students learn more about themselves.

    “Having these kinds of role models helps them to discover their talents,” he said.

    Volleyball player Stacie Powell, a freshman from Mesa, Ariz., majoring in special education, said interacting with the FOCUS students helped her to better understand the field that she hopes to enter.

    “It”s fun to see the kids learn something,” she said. “Even if it”s just right now that they remember it, it”s neat that they can learn about it.”

    The FOCUS students said they enjoyed the volleyball team”s visit.

    “It”s pretty cool,” said seventh grader Samantha Fullmer. “I like learning new things that I didn”t know before, and getting better at it and practicing.”

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