Wise Guys program makes impact in Clintonville

Middle School students in Clintonville participate in an after-school program called Wise Guys.
Middle School students in Clintonville participate in an after-school program called Wise Guys.

CLINTONVILLE - It's a group with a somewhat silly name, but the Wise Guys program is making a serious impact the lives of students in our area.

The effort is also getting some statewide attention.

These 30 fifth and sixth grade boys are ready to board the bus, and head to the Clintonville Curling Club for this week's after-school activity.

Though they're all well behaved, their teacher Justin Zoellick says they're all a bunch of Wise Guys.

It's the name of his after-school mentoring program.

“It's a group we started back in November of 2012,” said Zoellick. “Lessons range from ice fishing, we went to, we did baking, we did a lot of team building.”

These Wise Guys are being brave and trying new experiences.

“To realize there is life outside Clintonville and there are things you can do outside of Clintonville but you can bring those things inside Clintonville as well,” said Zoellick.

They're learning valuable life lessons in the process.

“Because it will be important to be a nice person in the future,” said fifth-grader Brady Kassun.

Zoellick's students from last year, who go under the name the "wiser guys," have moved on from activities in the community to service projects.

And they've received some recognition for their efforts.

“It was from State Superintendent Tony Evers, and it was a rural educators award and it was standing up for rural schools and libraries in Wisconsin,” said Zoellick.

The group went to Madison last Friday for the honors, inspiring the younger Wise Guys among them.

“It's cool because they got to go to the State Capitol and they got to go in the governor's office,” said Kassun.

And while this week's outing focused on pushing the curling stone farther down the ice, the Wise Guys hope broadening their horizons will help them go far in life.