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Arp Elementary students want help winning funds for new playground

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Arp students hold signs to ask for help in getting their new playground. Arp students hold signs to ask for help in getting their new playground.
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ARP (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - With the help of community members, Arp students hope to have a new playground to roam.

Arp Elementary School is asking the public to cast votes in support of it winning up to $50,000 from The Clorox Co.'s Power A Bright Future Program. The funds would be used for playground renovation.

Karen Maxwell, an Arp Elementary PTO officer, said the school had a larger playground for older children, but it was taken down to make room for a new gym. The current playground is only for pre Kindergarten through first grade.

Second- through fifth-graders have a basketball goal and hula hoops to use during recess or they can play in the woods, Ms. Maxwell said.

But the school hopes to change that by building a new playground on some land behind the school.

Ms. Maxwell said the land will have to be leveled and cleaned off, but the goal is to end up with a playground that has slides and swings.

"The kids work really hard every day at our school," she said. "Every day they go to school (from) 7:55 a.m. to 3:35 p.m.
(With) all the pressure on taking (standardized tests) and everything we push them to do academically, they're still little kids, and they still need to release some of that, and when they have recess, we would like them to have something else to do besides play in the woods."


PTO president Patricia Parnell agreed, saying the students need something to play on that's more stationary and up-to-date. Behind the school also would be a central location where all grade levels could use it, she said. Ms. Maxwell said the school has been doing fundraisers to help make the playground a reality, and it is now asking the community to vote for it so students have that safe place to play.

"We're up against some pretty big schools, so we want to show a smaller school can bring in a lot of votes," she said, adding that Arp junior high school students who are 13 and older will be allowed to use their phones at school to vote.

Adults and children 13 and older can vote through Dec. 19 by texting 2216pbf to 95248 and going to www.powerabrightfuture.com.

Ms. Maxwell said the program with the highest number of votes will receive the $50,000 grant while the next top vote-getters in the Play, Create and Explore categories respectively will each receive a $25,000 grant. She said a judge's panel will choose an additional three schools, one in each category, to receive a $25,000 grant.
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