Civics Club gets set to start

By: Frank C. D’Amico
   MILLSTONE — Now that the Civics Club at the Millstone Middle School has a teacher-adviser, activities can begin.
   Social studies teacher Robert Hoagland has signed on to head the program. The school district had sought for several months a leader for the pilot program.
   "He wanted the job, he was approved and we’re very excited about getting the club started," said Assistant Superintendent Mary Anne Donahue.
   Mr. Hoagland, who teaches seventh grade, said six eighth-graders have joined the club so far. The club currently is open to only eighth-graders, but seventh-graders might be added in the future.
   "We’re planning to show the students how to get involved not just locally but at the state and national level," he said.
   Beginning in January, the club is planning to meet the first two Wednesdays each month immediately following the end of classes that day, Mr. Hoagland said.
   "We’re going to contact our state senator and assemblymen and invite them to speak," he said, referring to Sen. Robert Singer and Assemblymen Melvin Cottrell and Joe Malone.
   Mr. Hoagland, who has been teaching for 34 years, said the club will ask Millstone politicians to make presentations as well.
   "We’re going to attend Township Committee meetings and we’re planning to visit the Statehouse and see them in action," Mr. Hoagland said.
   The club also will cover the role and responsibility of the Township Committee and other boards, commissions and councils within Millstone Township.
   Because the Civics Club is considered to be an academic club and not a social one, there will admission standards. Students have to write an application letter, receive a teacher recommendation and have a C or better in social studies.
   Club members must attend at least 80 percent of the meetings.