MARSHALL - The hope for a new playground system at Samuel Lutheran School became more of a reality thanks to fundraising efforts put forth the entire month of February.
Throughout the month, students were kept busy with optional activities, many of which included a $1 participation fee.
"I liked movie night," MacKenzie Schultz said. "We watched 'Mary Poppins' up in the cafeteria."
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Third-graders Andrew Heil, left, and Brock Schultz were more than happy to join in during a jump rope contest Thursday afternoon at Samuel Lutheran School. Students took part in similar activities the entire month of February in order to help raise money for new playground equipment.
Together with parents, other relatives, staff and congregational members of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, students raised more than $10,000 this month toward the playground goal of $27,000. An anonymous donor agreed to match funds, if the school could raise at least $5,000.
"With all the other collections, we have well over $5,000, and we get another matching $5,000," Samuel Lutheran School Principal John Festerling said. "I think right now, the total, with what we had before February, we're probably at $17,000."
While the final activity, a jump rope contest scheduled for Leap Day, was postponed because of a weather-related school closing, students were able to jump rope on Thursday.
"We collected over $500 for jumping (Thursday)," Festerling said. "So at the end, our pastor (the Rev. Keith Schreiner) agreed to show his jumping finesse for 15 minutes."
Schreiner admitted that he volunteered, to do his part for the cause.
"I tried to get the entire faculty involved," he said. "The kids bought into a lot of it and raised a lot of money. It's fun."
Beginning Feb. 1, a few days were designated as ones where students could pay $1 to stay in the gym for recess. For the token fee, students were also allowed to wear a hat in the classroom on two separate days. During grandparent recognition night at the basketball game on Feb. 11, a Whopper Feed helped generate playground funding.
"I liked to stay in at recess," James Van Kampen said. "We played line tag."
Dylan Criquet-Danielson agreed with Van Kampen.
"I like to stay in and play line tag also," Criquet-Danielson said. "And the penny wars were fun."
Schultz, Van Kampen, Criquet-Danielson and their sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade classmates won the penny war competition.
"We brought in $450," Andrew Van Kampen said. "If you put pennies in your jar, then each penny counts as one point towards that. But if somebody puts in a different amount, like a dollar, that would take 100 points away. A dime would take 10 points away."
The team with the highest positive total won.
"Our winning positive total was $7.59," Festerling said of his middle school class. "A total of $1,316 was raised in penny wars."
In the middle of February, a free throw contest was held, with the best scores picking up a prize. Samuel MacArthur was one the top winners.
"I made nine of 10 free throws," MacArthur said.
Students could also participate in a half-court contest at halftime of the Feb. 13 basketball game or pay the token fee to wear a hat in the classroom on two separate days.
"I liked that we didn't have to do 10 percent of our homework on a couple of days," Abby Blanchette said. "Math was the main one for me."
Festerling said he was pleased with the results of the February playground push. Despite the effort, the school is still $10,000 shy of the goal.
"We like to support ourselves, so we didn't go door-to-door to raise funds," Festerling said. "But we may have to cut down on our original plan if we want to get the playground going by this summer."