This Friday marked the official completion of Phase One of Calvin Leete Elementary School's Playground Rebuilding Initiative. Phase One of the rebuild was celebrated with a ribbon cutting that unveiled the school's new ClimbNet, an 18-foot rope structure for their 3rd & 4th grade playground.
The fundraising for the project has involved the Calvin Leete PTO since day one of its inception, but the students themselves have been heavily involved with the initiation and execution of fundraising efforts.
"Always set dreams for yourself," said Nancy Bishop, Principal of Calvin Leete, addressing the school community Friday. "Always have goals and make the effort to achieve those goals. Today is proof that those dreams can come true and those goals can be achieved."
Guilford Public Schools Superintendent Paul Freeman expressed his pride in the school's accomplishments. "There are two things about this day that are significant to Guilford," Freeman said at the ceremony. "We focus on work here at our schools, but we also value the importance of fun. Our students need to have fun, to smile, and laugh and play with friends."
"The second thing that is significant about this day is that fact that it is coming from you," he continued, speaking directly to the 4th graders at the ribbon cutting and their families. "This shows that Guilford can come together as a community and work to achieve this. Our community did this, and that makes me proud of Guilford."
Many of the speakers also emphasized the importance of the new structures as a point of safety and healthy lifestyle choices. "The last playground was so old, it was giving us splinters when we played on it," said one of the students. "And if you fell, the ground would scrape your knee, the wood chips now are much better."
Debbie Golembieski, the Physical Education Instructor at the school also talked about the connection between the playscape rebuild and the schools Build Healthy Kids initiative. "The new playscape reminds us that we have to get out there and be active everyday," said Golembieski. "We need to move our bodies and make choices that contribute to making us fit and healthy. This new playscape gives you all the opportunity to do just that."
The remarkable involvement of the students and families in the rebuilding project brought together different ideas and initiatives in fundraising efforts. Countless students were involved, and here are just a few of the initiatives included in a Press Release:
Claire Pringle (4th Grade) had a lemonade stand and collected $24.00
Sophia Ruser, Clair Pringle, Olivia Ste. Marie, Kiera Stankesich (4th Grade) created and sold their original artwork and collected $48.25
The Third Grade Class (now 4th Graders) had a giant play date last year at the Community Center. For $10, children took the bus from Calvin Leete to the Community Center where refreshments and snacks were provided- along with music and games. There were 61 children at the event and they raised $610.00
Grandpa Cunningham was impressed with their effort and matched the children's donation from the giant play date $610.00
The Mudry Family (Max, K, Christopher, 3rd Grade, and Vivian, 4th Grade) has been collecting spare change in a jar at home for years. They generously decided, as a family, to donated it all- $167.29- to the playground fund.
Every Student was invited to an a-MAZE-ing afternoon at the corn maze. 121 Calvin Leete students and their families rallied for the fundraiser! Upon completion of the 1.5 acre maze children were treated to Bishop's apples, cider donuts, and cider! The final tally was $1,315 toward the new playground!
The Ribbon Cutting marks just the beginning of the Playgroudn rebuild project at the school. In March of 2013, the School District will prepare the site for the second playscape and walkway, and in April, hopes are that those will be installed. Summer of 2013 will bring preparation and installation of Phase Three.
Ongoing fundraising at the School includes the Buy-A-Brick Program. The ultimate goal is to raise $150,000 for the new playground. "Given the school's proximity to the green and high field usage, the Calvin Leete playground has local impact," said Pam Miller, PTO President and Playground Co-Chair in a Press Release. "We are confident that community will make a contribution to support the effort."