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Pinching pennies and pitching in

The students of St. Teresa school in Elmira have been pinching their pennies, and it’s all for a good cause. After launching the Creative Outdoor Play Project on May 1 to raise funds for a new playground and enhanced play space at the school, students held a penny drive that collected more than $2,000.

“We are a small school with a big heart,” says Shelley Deyell, chair of the school council.  “When we put the call out for pennies after the government announced they would be discontinued, we had no idea the response would be so great.”

Over the spring the school has raised some $11,000 towards the project, with a final goal of $45,000.

John Dixon from the Optimist Club of St. Jacobs presented St. Teresa principal Sherry Peeples and chair of student council Shelley Deyell with a $1,250 cheque for a new school playground. The club will be donating a total of $2,500 over two years. The school also received $2,000 from the Knights of Columbus. [colin dewar / the observer]
Some local service clubs have also stepped up to the plate to help the students with their goal. The St. Teresa of Avila Knights of Columbus and the Optimist Club of St. Jacobs both presented cheques to the playground fund at the school’s Family Fun Night held on Tuesday.

The Optimist Club will be donating $2,500 over the next two years and the Knights of Columbus gave $2,000.

“We are really interested in supporting the kids and their expansion program and are helping out the best way we can,” said John Dixon, a member of the Optimist Club of St. Jacobs.

The current playground at the school is in need of some major upgrades to ensure a safe and fun environment for the students during their outdoor play, Deyell said.

Organizers plan to remove and replace the existing equipment.

Currently there is no physical structure for the younger students at the school to use.

“The new design will be accessible for all students from junior kindergarten to Grade 8,” said principal Sherry Peeples.

Organizers for the playground campaign hope to have the necessary funds raised in order to have the rejuvenated play space ready for the spring of 2013 which should coincide with the school’s $2 million expansion that began this year.

“We hope to have both a new indoor and outdoor learning environment for our students when everything is completed next year,” said Peeples.

“This is a strong start for our school community, but we still have a long way to go,” said Deyell.  “We will continue to work with our school families, local businesses, and community organizations to reach our goal.”

A school-wide Fit-A-Thon is planned for the fall when students return to class, and donations made to the project through the Waterloo Region Catholic Schools Foundation are eligible for a charitable receipt.  For more information about St. Teresa’s Creative Outdoor Play Project, contact stteresaelmira@hotmail.com.

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