With great care, sixth-grader Jon Lesky is constructing a Lego robot he calls “Peace Man.”
“He builds stuff out of his imagination that will help take down this guy,” Jon says, motioning toward another Lego man he calls “a super hi-tech genius that’s trying to destroy the world.”
On this Thursday afternoon at Kenowa Hills Middle School, Jon and five classmates are building stuff out of their imaginations from tubs full of Legos.
Star Wars characters, armored vehicles and Minecraft scenarios come to life in their busy fingers, accompanied by explosion sound effects, Darth Vader theme music and running commentary:
“Pow, pow!” “Those are laser glasses.” “This is called a light saber. It can slash through just about anything.”
It’s one way students here find an after-school outlet for their creativity and energy. Down the hall, others are more quietly out-thinking each other in a newly revived chess club. Other students have organized a euchre group.
Principal Abby Wiseman joins the Lego group each Thursday — her way of supporting the idea that Jon brought to her some weeks ago.
“I’m always looking for different ways to engage with kids,” Wiseman says. “It’s fun to have those experiences with kids outside of school. I really get to know them on a different level, which is what it’s all about.
“It sparks some creativity in them,” she adds. “I just love hearing their ideas.”
Jon says he proposed the Lego club because, one, he has “tons of Legos”; two, Miss Wiseman agreed to sponsor it; and three, he wanted to share the fun.
“Legos are kind of expensive,” he says. “I didn’t know if everybody could purchase them. So I was figuring, why don’t people not have to buy them? Why shouldn’t they play with them without having to pay for them?
“The reason I like Legos is it’s a creation,” he adds. “You can use your imagination.”