McNeel Expo Night to give glimpse at offerings

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News The McNeel Lancers are busy rounding up prizes for the school expo. Shown are sixth graders Reonna McCoy, Mariah Richardson, Yescenia Zarinana and Cristian Avila.

BELOIT - The community is invited to the McNeel Intermediate School Expo Night to get a closer look at what the school has to offer. The evening will feature tours, door prizes, free food, demonstrations and lots of Lancers.

The expo will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the school, 1524 Frederick St. In the past, the event has attracted upwards of 400 people.

"We want people to come see our school. School choice is out there, and we want to show what McNeel has to offer," said Tim Socha, school counselor.

"We have really cool teachers," added sixth grader Mariah Richardson. "We also have a lot of different sports and athletic options."

If nothing else, sixth grader Yescenia Zarinana - a football player - said people can get free tickets to try their luck at winning one of the free prizes.

The expo is set up for third graders who will be attending the fourth through eighth grade school next year; families with kids attending the school; those interesting in sending their kids to Aldrich and curious community members.

Teachers will be showcasing snippets of curriculum as well as the art department, Project Lead the Way program and more. Activities done in physical education class also will be demonstrated.

The Youth2Youth program will be an exhibit titled "Hidden in Plain Sight" to alert parents to the warning signs of substance abuse.

"We have more than 36 different community partners coming in," Socha said. "We are very fortunate with all the different community agencies coming together."

When guests come they will get a passport that can be stamped at various booths. When they fill up the passport they can win various prizes.

"If you get a free ticket, you can win something," Reonna McCoy said.

McNeel Intermediate School has 650 students. Principal Michelle Hendrix-Nora said the school has an array of extra-curricular activities, a new League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Junior program in collaboration with the high school, and before and after school programming called the Lancer Academy.

In addition to its strong academic programming, McNeel caters to the emotional and physical needs of students.

"We have a family-type atmosphere and are very good at developing relationships with students so they feel wanted and like they belong," Socha said.

McNeel has a therapeutic program with for students with disabilities who have more profound behavioral needs. The school also has a partnership with HOPE counseling to address student mental health needs.

The school is also home to the Lancer Closet, which offers clothing and toiletries to students in need.

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