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    Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary cuts ribbon for new playground

    by Tianna G. Hansen

    Pennsbury School District’s Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School, 185 Walton Drive, Morrisville, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new playground on October 1st.

    This comes after months of fundraising (beginning in January of this year) and preparation to bring the new playground to the school’s campus.

    “Our new structure will promote continuous play,” said Eleanor Roosevelt PTO co-chair of playground fundraising, Megan Esmonde. “It will bring more play value to a smaller space, more social interactions and more skill development among children.”

    Back in February, the school had an overall goal to raise $75,000 for a new playground, beginning with a coin challenge prior to the Super Duper Bowl VIII flag football tournament.

    They raised a large amount through this and other fundraising events, including the Falcon Fun Run, where they raised $16,263.

    “Students will benefit from this new playground by using their creative self to explore a freedom not always available during the structured day. It helps reduce stress through physical play, allowing for a more focused day,” Megan said.

    Through various fundraisers and grants, the school was able to raise a total of $52,311 thanks to generous support from the community.

    Funds aided in revitalizing the 21-year-old playground that was in disrepair with a brand new one designed for children (ages five through 12) of varying abilities.

    The new playground can accommodate between 50 and 60 children and includes a slide, climbing apparatuses, a musical wall and more.

    Megan and the other PTO co-chair of the playground’s fundraising, Kate Werth, cut the ribbon to the playground before one lucky homeroom class was allowed a first try on the new equipment.

    “When our active fundraising began only three short months ago, the playground fund had just over $6,000 in its account…now we have $53,210,” Megan said at the presentation of the check at the PTO meeting. “This was no easy task – it took help and support of our Eleanor Roosevelt community, especially from the Principal, Lisa Follman.”

    Lisa was pleased to see the project kick off almost overnight.

    “This playground makes such a big difference,” said Lisa. “Prior to this revitalization, there were plywood planks sticking out of the old playground which made it unsafe to play on.”

    Lisa says their next project is revitalizing the fifth grade playground.

    There are many community representatives and local businesses that provided financial support and donations to make this playground a possibility.

    Among those who donated and attended the ribbon cutting included Russ Muller of ShopRite, Christyne Siliverdis with Mental Health Strength Training, and Jeff Hill with the Kiwanis Club of Washington Crossing-Yardley.

    “It’s so rewarding getting to see the benefits of our donations, and seeing these kids in our stores is an extra bonus,” said Russ of ShopRite. “It’s amazing feeling like such a large part of the community.”

    John Lewis, the Lower Makefield Township Supervisor, was also in attendance for this momentous event.

    “My mother donated to local playgrounds in her time too, so this is especially important for me,” said John.

    The kids of Eleanor Roosevelt rushed to try out the new playground, joy evident on their faces made possible by the fundraising efforts of Megan and Kate, as well as the strength of this tight-knit, giving community.

    For more information and to keep an eye out for fundraising on their next project, visit the school online at www.pennsburysd.org/eleanorrooseveltelementary_home.aspx.

    You can also call them at 215-428-4256.

    PHOTO CAP: PTO Co-chairs for playground fundraising, Megan Esmonde (left) and Kate Werth (right), with Eleanor Roosevelt Principal Lisa Follman.