Since Perkins School received the third highest number of votes — 14,608 — in the Culturelle Kids for Project Playground competition, it did not win the $100,000 it needs to purchase new playground equipment.
The pre-K through second-grade school in Newark was one of five finalists among hundreds of schools across the nation to apply for a grant from Culturelle Kids for Project Playground. North Vernon Elementary School in North Vernon, Indiana, received the most online votes in the 30-day voting period with 49,385 votes.
Principal Sue Achille wants everyone who took the time to vote during the competition to know that she, staff and students appreciate their support.
“We received well over 14,000 votes from parents, staff members and community members, not only in our own community but also from surrounding areas,” Achille said. “We are so grateful for the support that was shown throughout this campaign and for all those who spread the word, including through social media, and urged others to vote. Our students made posters. Many members of our school staff and community voted. Other school districts urged staff to vote. Rochester TV stations all ran wonderful stories to publicize and assist our efforts, as did area newspapers. We are so grateful to everyone who helped us.”
The need for an expanded second and larger playground at Perkins School remains.
The older playground on the southeast side of the school was shut down last fall after much of its aging equipment fell into a state of disrepair and had to be removed.
The capacity of the newer playground, located behind the parking lot west of the building, only allows one of the school’s 25 classes at a time to use it. In good weather, only a few classes each day get to use the playground during their daily 20-minute recess time.
Teachers take turns using the playground with their classes, and must sign up to do so. Had Perkins won the Culturelle Kids Project Playground competition, the new equipment would have been installed in the old playground area on the southeast side of the school.
“Our students still really need a second playground,” Achille said. “The amount of equipment in our new playground is simply inadequate for our needs, and it is not handicapped-accessible. So we will continue to make plans to renovate the playground on the southeast side of our school to provide a safe and fun outdoor play space there for our students.”