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Thursday Night Crew teaches grit
Sue Scott

The Thursday Night Crew, a new after-school program at Battle Ground Middle School, is helping young men get stronger physically and academically. Every Thursday, the group works on class assignments with help from tutors from the Harrison High School Keyettes, Raider basketball standout Jonah Lucas and other volunteers. Then, the second half is dedicated to CrossFit training.

Eighth grader Ashton Orem says he’s working hard to keep his grades up so he can play football. “I enjoy the program because I can catch up on missing assignments and I'm able to release a little stress into the workout after the tutoring,” says Ashton. “I've been able to get missing assignments and last minute work done, and it's helped me get my grades up.” 

Assistant Principal Matt Glynn uses fitness to connect with the young men: “Young men are trying to prove themselves and feel tough. Grit is not isolated to a physical arena, it is needed every day in the classroom as well. However, telling a student to ‘work harder’ is pointless if they don't know what hard work looks like or feels like.  I have found that students are more willing to demonstrate grit physically when they are pushed by someone and are pursuing something they want. Then we can start to make connections with those students and they can begin to apply this grit, hard work and determination to other areas of their lives. If nothing else, being uncomfortable is no longer a foreign concept to them.” 

The students workout using dumbbells, slam balls, sprinting, jump ropes, boxing, basketball, sandbags, resistance bands, prowler sleds and more.  

Glynn says Calvary Church also supports the program by providing the students with Gatorade and snacks.

Ashton says his favorite position to play in football is linebacker. Glynn says if Ashton continues to demonstrate the same grit and determination, he’ll have no problem earning a spot on the Raiders football team in the fall.