CHAMPLAIN - High school can be an adventure and at Northeastern Clinton Central School, there's a club to prove it.
Since the start of the school year, students have been invited to participate in the Adventure Club, which offers alternatives for kids looking beyond the norm when it comes to after-school activities.
"It started last year with our outing club where we go once a year on a hike," said principal Stephen E. Gratto. "One of our students, Cody Jackson, suggested we do other things."
"I wanted to start up a club that did activities that other clubs weren't really doing," explained Jackson.
Out of his suggestions grew the Adventure Club, which has since given students opportunities to participate in team-building exercises like paintball, rock climbing and laser tag.
The club, explained Gratto, is offered as an open invitation to all students in grades 9-12. The school district provides transportation and all the students have to do is pay their own way.
"If they're interested in the particular event we're doing, then they can sign up to go," said Gratto.
So far, there has been a "diverse array" of students who participate, he said.
"We have kids here that don't necessarily like school but will still go on trips like these," said Gratto. "It gets them involved ... and when you do reach one of them, that's great."
Jackson, who's a member of the senior class, said he's enjoyed going on outings with his fellow classmates and hopes it's a tradition that continues long after he has graduated.
"Hopefully, it'll grow into something so large it'll involve the entire school," he said.
Gratto said he hopes the Adventure Club is a gateway activity that leads to even more positive interaction between students and school staff and amongst each other.
"Certainly, if you can get kids to realize that getting involved with a school activity isn't torture, that it can actually be fun, hopefully it will make them more open-minded to other opportunities," said Gratto. "We do have a lot of great opportunities here."
Assistant principal Kate McNeil agreed, adding it's also a great way to build a rapport with students.
"It's been great and I'm happy Mr. Gratto has given me an opportunity to help plan something different, something not normally done at school," she said. "I'm just looking forward to our next adventure."
As for what that adventure will be, Gratto said he doesn't know, only that he's open to suggestions.
"I've heard some talk of whitewater rafting," he said. "I wouldn't say no to that."