A local charter school is looking to broaden its students’ horizons by offering them extracurricular activities.

The Richard Milburn Academy has been providing an education to high school students in Killeen for the last 10 years, and has begun to offer activities, clubs and organizations for students to participate in outside of their academic pursuits.

“Extracurricular activities give students a sense of belonging, and build skills like leadership and personal responsibility,” said Kimberly Shepard, the school’s director. “We want to develop the whole student.”

Some of those activities include programs one would find at most other high schools, such as athletics.

This year, the academy will host an annual basketball tournament featuring students from its morning blocks of classes against those who come for afternoon classes.

“It’s not something we really had last year, so it was really cool to see them get some sports like basketball for us,” said Fredrick Martin, a senior and this year’s morning homecoming king.

The academy also revived its dance, step and cheerleading teams. Nyhree Blate, a 10th-grade member of those teams, said she was glad the school listened when she and other students asked for extracurricular activities.

“It’s something that we can all come together and participate in and have a good time at our school,” she said. “It’s something to look forward to after school.”

Athletics and dance aren’t the only programs the school is instituting this year. Shepard started a school book club.

“I have a great time there,” said Wydall Hallett, a senior and member of the book club. “I like that we have fun things to do outside of class, and the teachers really work hard to help us with that.”

Other nonathletic programs at the school include the Student Advisory Leadership Team, which gives students a chance to help organize and promote school activities and participate in community service projects.

The school also offers students with jobs the chance to earn credit through its career preparation program.

“We want our students to be well-rounded individuals,” said Lisa Shockey, an instructor at the school who has helped organize and coordinate many of the extracurricular activities. “It’s something they can participate in and feel good about.”

Starla Jacoba, a teacher who currently runs the Student Advisory Leadership Team, said students were happy to see their school offering such activities and are asking for more.

“They definitely want to do more. They’ve suggested maybe starting a choir,” she said. “They are just full of ideas, and they want to help make this school their own.”

Participation in all of the activities requires students to maintain passing grades and good behavior.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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