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Tigers Join Cardinals for a Day

In 2005, Crete (Neb.) Middle School started an after school program called The Cardinal Zone.  The purpose of the Cardinal Zone is to keep kids off the streets and involved in more school activities. 

A variety of activities are offered: basketball, soccer, dodge ball, tennis, crafts, art club, ping pong, foosball, photography, yearbook club, bowling, pool and movies.  Tutors are also available to help students with their homework. 

In their second year of The Cardinal Zone, Crete Middle School has doubled the number of students who attend on an average day.  Last year they averaged 40 kids a day, now they average 80.  There are more than 300 students at the Middle School, 200+ parental forms have been turned in this year for students to attend the program.

The Cardinal Zone brings in speakers for a variety of topics frequently for the students to listen to and learn from.

On October 17, members of the Doane College Women's Basketball team spoke to the students about the opportunities colleges offer, both in academics and athletics.

Sixteen staff members are involved in The Cardinal Zone.  Josi Gronemeyer, a 2005 Doane graduate and basketball alum, headed up this opportunity for the women's basketball team.  Staff members are responsible for engaging the students in all the activities The Cardinal Zone offers. 

"I wanted to show (the students) that they have different opportunities beyond high school," said Gronemeyer.  "The kids need to know that if they work hard in school now, it will allow them to take the next step in life."

Members of the women's basketball team spoke about the process for getting into college and how they now balance studies, athletics, a job and a personal life. 

Afterwards, the students in attendance were able to ask questions.  They ranged from "what motivates you?" to "do you have a boyfriend?"

To wrap up the days activity, the students participated in games of knockout.

"This was fun," commented Doane senior Ashley Howard.  "It's always fun when you can hang out with kids, socialize and play basketball."