West Lane Elementary students raise $35,000 for new playground equipment

Monday, March 7, 2011

West Lane Elementary School students and teachers know the two ingredients needed to make a playground. Cookie dough and haircuts, of course.

You can add a lot of hard work to that list, too.

Over the past nine months, the Jackson elementary school has raised $35,000 for new playground equipment, the first to be installed in about 15 years, according to third-grade teacher Kimber Parks.

The new multiple-level equipment, complete with competition slide, rock-climbing wall and plastic climbing structure, will fill out the playground, now equipped with an aged metal climbing structure.

"We just had issues with the kids not having enough to do," Parks said. "We're hoping this will give them more opportunities."

The fundraising venture was West Lane community-driven; no district money is being used for the purchase of the equipment, Parks said.

To reach the goal, students, teachers and parents sold a whole lot of cookie dough -- $10,000 worth last spring and another $16,000 in a similar campaign this year. The campaign also was supported through candle sales, sucker sales and a bunch of school fun days, where students each paid a dollar for the right to wear stickers or hats for a day.

The school will have an assembly at 2 p.m. today to celebrate the achievement and to reward students with some much-anticipated teacher head-shaving.

Fourth-grade teacher Lance McClard is among three educators who volunteered their hair for the cause. Call it fundraising motivation for the young salespeople.

"His wife is a little uneasy about it," Parks said of McClard's looming clean-shaven look. "The top seller is going to do the first flight of Mr. McClard's head, but we're not sure about that just yet."

Plans also call for a cookie-eating contest, with top-selling students vying against teachers.

If all goes according to plan, the new playground equipment should arrive by the end of the month, and it is expected to be installed before the end of the school year. That, Parks said, is the ultimate reward for dedicated students.

"Those kids worked hard," she said.

mkittle@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

338 N. West Lane, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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