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Archive for Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Second-grader’s winning entry brings $5,000 for school’s playground

January 17, 2006

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Second-grader Dawson Dykes squirmed out of his chair during a visit to the Wakarusa Valley School principal's office.

A call there can sometimes mean bad news for a youngster, especially with his parents in the room.

But Dawson and his family were there so he could be congratulated for winning a contest that will net a $5,000 grant and help pay for new playground equipment at the Douglas County school.

"It was a surprise," said dad Richard Dykes. "Seeing as how we're not very lucky, are we?"

Dawson entered the Let's Just Play Giveaway contest sponsored by the Nickelodeon cable network. Youngsters were asked to write about what their school needed to help improve physical fitness. Dawson wrote about the school's need for playground equipment.

Eighteen other schools and clubs across the country also won $5,000 grants.

On Thursday, Dawson had some trouble recalling exactly what he wrote for the contest. He's more of a math whiz, his mother, Dianna, said.

Dawson Dykes, a second-grader at Wakarusa Valley School, center, won a Nickelodeon contest for the school, which will receive $5,000 for new playground equipment. With Dawson at the school are, from left, his sister, Ashley, 5, his father, Richard Dykes, and his mother, Dianna Dykes. Not pictured is Dawson's older brother, Jared, 16.

Dawson Dykes, a second-grader at Wakarusa Valley School, center, won a Nickelodeon contest for the school, which will receive $5,000 for new playground equipment. With Dawson at the school are, from left, his sister, Ashley, 5, his father, Richard Dykes, and his mother, Dianna Dykes. Not pictured is Dawson's older brother, Jared, 16.

"It was old," Dawson said of the school's playground equipment.

"It meant a lot to me because I grew up at this school, too," his mom said. "I think they're using the same equipment."

Wakarusa Valley has also received a $5,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation. Both grants will help pay for a $32,000 set of slides and monkey bars.

"We were jumping up and down," after receiving the grants, said Gloria Sherman, the school's PTO president.

The school PTO has sought funds for new playground equipment for at least three years. Teachers have noticed students standing in line to use playground equipment.

The school and PTO have also raised about $10,000. More grant applications and fund-raisers are in the works to cover the remaining $12,000, Sherman said.

The new equipment will be added to the playground in June.

"For a small rural school to have that kind of funding coming in makes a big difference," said Elias Espinoza, Wakarusa Valley principal. "We'll get a lot of use out of it."

Dawson is making plans for the new monkey bars.

This illustration shows the new playground equipment planned for Wakarusa Valley School. The school aims to raise an additional $12,000 to pay for the equipment.

This illustration shows the new playground equipment planned for Wakarusa Valley School. The school aims to raise an additional $12,000 to pay for the equipment.

"Sometime later this year, or maybe next year, I might get myself up and stand on the very top of it," he said.

"That might be dangerous," his mother said.

Comments

tlinderflohman 8 years, 3 months ago

Merry-go-round? Kids getting knocked in the head by the bars going by. Riders being thrown by the centrifugal force and into the herd of kids standing around it. The ones lucky enough to stay on it throwing up from extreme dizziness... Sounds like a blast. Are they even installing new ones anymore?

Yeah it's expensive. Most stuff is anymore. That new equipment will most likely last for years, and lots of kids will probably use it and have fun while doing so. It may just encourage kids to be physically active. Congrats, Dawson!

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Bessie_May 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm happy for Dawson and his school. But, I have to pause at the thought of spending over $30,000 on playground equipment. This is outrageous. Plus, the equipment seems to just be a bunch of slides. What about a merry-go-round or tether ball? It seems like a total waste of money to me.

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