Fleetwood 5th graders walk for their playground

Patriot photos by Lisa Mitchell Fleetwood 5th graders Abbie Kissinger, Brooke Van Billiard and Ash Williams walk to raise funds for playground equipment and picnic tables at the middle school.

Fleetwood 5th graders wish they had playground equipment at the middle school.

The 200 students walked toward making that wish come true.

The 5th graders participated in a Walk-a-thon during recess on Oct. 17 on the Fleetwood stadium track. Flyers went home requesting donations.

“When the kids get involved, they own it,” said fifth grade teacher Lee Ann Crits. “Now that they’re excited and they’re really liking it, maybe we’ll raise even more next time.”

Fifth grader Mackenzie Miller said, “We are walking for 45 minutes to raise money for our playground. We don’t have a lot for our playground and we want to entertain ourselves.”

“The walk I think is really cool because of the music and everybody is having a good time and it’s really fun,” said Miller.

“You get to hang out with your friends and still raise money,” said Melanie Sellers.

Fifth grader Brooke Van Billiard said playground equipment “would give us a place to play at recess.”

“People are so bored that they want to do homework,” said Ash Williams.

With pounding upbeat dance music playing from the press box speakers, the nine fifth grade classes walked and danced and even ran at times. Their enthusiasm was contagious, even getting this Patriot editor and her daughter, Anna, 2, walking.

“I like the music and I like walking,” said fifth grader Sarah Leininger. “I think it would be fun if we raised enough money (for playground equipment). It’s better than having cement and grass and we can have a lot more fun.”

“They’re bonding,” said Crits. “This activity is allowing them to walk with buddies for a good amount of time.”

The idea for the Walk-a-Thon to raise funds for playground equipment came from one of the teacher’s nephews who had brought home a similar flyer for another school requesting donations.

“We took off from that idea because they did really well,” said Crits.

About six weeks ago, letters went home to parents requesting donations for the playground area. Currently the play area has a basketball court and hop scotch but no play equipment.

“Our 5th graders our trying to raise money for a playground,” said Crits. “We are hoping to purchase picnic tables to start, then continue fundraising to collect more for playground equipment.”

The students have raised $2,732 so far. The play equipment and picnic tables will be located near the grade 5 and 6 area of Fleetwood Middle School.Crits said they hope to install a couple of pieces of equipment at a time, considering how long they anticipate it will take to raise enough funds.

Crits said playground equipment “gives them something physical to do rather than just standing around doing nothing. Plus, it helps with how they get along.”

Recess is held at the end of the day for all 5th graders.

“Other than a couple of four squares and basketball nets, there’s nothing for them to do,” said Crits.

The fifth grader teacher explained that there is no Parent Teacher Organization for the 5th grade so they are hoping to put together a committee to work on the playground project.

“So this is a beginning,” she said.

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