Eighth Graders Choose their Own Adventure in Student Interest Clubs

Want to gain a deeper understanding of personal finance or learn how to knit? What about testing your trivia skills or partaking in community service initiatives? Well, step right up to our eighth grade Student Interest Clubs and you can do any of these things!

Student Interest Clubs are opportunities for MICDS eighth-graders to choose an interest they’d like to tap into during the school day. Eight times throughout the school year, they enjoy that interest and learning something new with their peers during a particular period of the day. Summer Beasley, Eighth Grade Co-Chair and Middle & Lower School PE Teacher, described how students determined which interests would be offered. “A few of us from the Eighth-Grade Faculty Team met with volunteers from the eighth grade to find out what they would like to do with their H1 period time. We received some awesome, fun ideas. Then, we sent along a Google form to allow students to rank their first, second, and third choices.” Students experience one interest for four class periods and another interest for four subsequent class periods during the academic year.

“The main goal is for students to have some choice in what they want to learn and explore, rather than having the teachers pick opportunities for them,” explains Callie Bambenek, Middle School Science Teacher.

This school year, students are choosing from the following interests:

  • Art
  • Community Service
  • Exercise
  • Knitting
  • Minecraft
  • Personal Finance & Investing
  • Silent Reading & Studying
  • Trivia

During this time, students can be found creating diversified investment portfolios, playing hide-and-seek over Minecraft, practicing new weight-lifting exercises, sculpting a shoe out of clay, painting a sunset, knitting a blanket, creating fundraising posters for a penny wars fundraising drive that benefits a charity of the eight graders’ choosing, creating posters for a community service drive to help those facing transitional homelessness, and discovering new facts about their Middle School teachers through a game of trivia. Several students shared what group they chose and what inspired them to choose it:

  • “My student interest group is Community Service. I chose to do Community Service because I want to give back to the community. I am hoping to get a better understanding of many charities and their goals. I hope that I can make an impact on our grade, school, and even the city!” – Anna Dehlendorf ’26
  • “I choose Advanced Fitness because it’s a way for me to learn how to take care of my body and build muscle.” – Rodney Freeman ’26
  • “I chose the Finance and Investing student interest group because it was a topic I was intrigued by that I felt couldn’t be explored within our typical classes. Though I had researched investing independently, it had always been a daunting subject, and the opportunity to have teacher guidance was one I wouldn’t pass up. The class immediately altered from a tutorial introduction on investing to an interactive experiment in the stock market using an online simulator to build our stock portfolios. Each session, we meet up to discuss both investing’s principle strategies and the strategies of our most successful peers. Approaching the session’s closure, I’ve learned to understand news on the economy, and, with a foundation of background knowledge, I feel like I could continue to pursue this interest independently. The course surpassed my expectations, and I can’t wait for my next session of interest groups!” ~Robyn Davies ’26
  • “My interest group is Community Service. I chose it because I wanted to better the community, especially around the St. Louis area. I am hoping to learn more about the community’s struggles and how I can help.” – Chloe Coughlin ’26

The current interest groups wrap up in early March while the next set of interest clubs will take place from the end of March through May. We can’t wait to see what students choose to do then!

What a fun way to choose one’s own adventure and learn a new skill or enjoy an interest in the eighth grade school day!