This Halloween, some students are bringing in more than just candy.
On Wednesday, Ring Elementary School hosted its second annual Walk for Roadrunner Pride. The event is a celebration of the fundraising efforts of students to help pay for a new playground that universal pre-kindergarten children can use. The current playground at Ring is rated for children 5 years old and older, but students in UPK are not old enough to meet that standard.
The recognition of the need for a new playground came to Jen Goshgarian and fellow kindergarten teachers in fall of last year. Mrs. Goshgarian and the kindergarten team have been described as the central focus of the playground committee.
"We started to feel that there were a lot of students here that can't use the current playground," said Goshgarian. "We saw there was a need (for a new playground) and we discussed it with our principal and we all kind of agreed that there is a need, especially with so many children under the age of five at Ring. So as a team we started getting the playground project under way and we've come up with a bunch of different fundraisers."
Fundraising for the new playground, an estimated $75,000 project, has already covered more than half of the cost in just over two years. According to Connie Foster, principal at Ring, the school has raised around $40,000 and the students have accounted for $15,000 of that amount.
This year, students have been fundraising for the past five weeks and have had a different objective for each week. Prizes were given to students and classes who received a donation from the farthest away, who brought in the most at a given time and who brought in the most altogether.
The Walk for Roadrunner Pride was observed by having all of the students walk around the building with their classes. It is celebrated as part of the Safe Routes to School grant which encourages to kids to be outside and using sidewalks more often. Though it was linked with the fundraising celebration, the two are not directly associated.
"At the beginning of the year we had students walk to school with their parents and we're encouraging that kind of physical activity outside," said Foster. "Today, classrooms are talking about safety and how to walk on sidewalks and stay out of the road. So we're combining both together."
"We did our Halloween parade in the morning, but this is an additional walk to promote healthy habits on a day that's filled with not so healthy habits," said Goshgarian.
For this year's Walk for Roadrunner Pride, the students have earned around $6,500. A good portion of that money was raised by brothers Ben, Nate and Zach Cornell who are in second grade, first grade and UPK, respectively. According to their mother, Lori Cornell, the boys brought in approximately $260 each.
"The thing about C.C. Ring is that the kids there take pride in their school," said Cornell. "They feel very proud to attend a school where the principal, teachers and entire faculty really care about the kids' opportunities and futures. Mrs. Goshgarian and the kindergarten team deserve so much credit for spearheading this whole project. They've been so committed every step of the way for the last two years and in making sure that this opportunity has been afforded to the kids. She and her team have done an incredible job."