Last semester, I wrote a piece on a new Student Organization called SPARKE for Clarke, a program founded to benefit gifted at-risk youth from Clarke Central High School. It accomplishes this by pairing freshmen from the University of Georgia with freshmen from the Gifted Minorities Achieving initiative at CCHS. The students from Clarke Central remain paired to their students until graduation. The program is meant to establish a long lasting bond that will exist far beyond the moment they leave campus.

Thursday, September 15, 2016, SPARKE will be hosting its very first public event. Raising Cane’s on Baxter agreed to host a percentage night from 5-10pm. All members of the community, whether they be affiliated with the organization or not, are welcome to come. They need only mention that they are with the fundraiser to contribute to the cause. A total of 15% of all sales collected for the fundraiser will be donated to SPARKE for Clarke to help fund future programs.

SPARKE and GMA plan to host several other community programs throughout the coming semester. A featured event comes in the form of a speech by former Student Government Association president and homecoming king, Johnelle Simpson II. Since graduating from UGA, Simpson has become a full time employee of the Clarke County School System. He will be speaking on his experience from an undergraduate at one of the most outstanding public universities in America to a leader of a program designed to match high school students with job opportunities that offer school credit. SPARKE hopes this event will be the hallmark of the semester, a stepping stone on which to build the organization for years to come.

-Marquise Chester