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Lights literally turned on Thursday as LightHouse students learned about batteries in celebration of Lights On After School.

The national event seeks to highlight the work of after-school programs like the LightHouse, which emphasizes academics, character and service.

At the Highland Center, Education Specialist Rebecca Prosino continued science lessons with one on how to make a battery with washers, pennies, cardboard and a little vinegar. Middle Schoolers carefully stacked their materials and waited eagerly to test the output.

Then they tried it with an LED light.

“Cool!” exclaimed a few at the faint glow.

Zhane said he had no idea that could work. But those experiences are why the three-year veteran keeps coming back to the LightHouse.

“We do projects at school, but nothing like this,” he said. “It helps with math and science.”

SONY DSCPlus, Zhane said, the LightHouse keeps him out of trouble.

The LightHouse is one of thousands of after-school programs that tries to fill in the gap for working parents, ensuring kids succeed academically and have experiences their parents might not be able to provide.

Last year the program served about 600 children. Of them 90 percent promoted to the next grade, 100 percent stayed in school and 98 percent avoided any involvement in teen pregnancy or the juvenile justice system.

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