April 18, 2012 - Leonard Elementary's PTO is to be commended for helping the school's K-5 student population reach new heights – literally.
Helping assemble the rock wall are Leonard second-grader Madison Houck and third-graders Catie Parsons, Alexis Johnson, Madelyne Perry and Summer Phelps. Nice work, ladies! Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Through its nonstop fund-raising efforts – ranging from weekly exercise classes to the annual spring fair – the group was able to generate the $3,500 necessary to purchase a rock climbing wall for Leonard's gymnasium.
"The most important thing with our PTO is whatever money's raised that year, we (use it to) buy the kids something they can use that same year, so it benefits the kids that helped raise (the funds)," said PTO Secretary Mary Johnson. "We don't save it until next year. We use it now."
The new wall is 8 feet tall and 24 feet long with multicolored climbing rocks affixed to it.
"I think it's great," said physical education teacher Brian Luba. "I think it offers a lot of opportunities for the kids to become even more active than they already are."
To save on labor costs, parent volunteers installed it themselves.
"If we paid somebody to do it, it would have been another $1,700," noted PTO Treasurer Traci Parsons.
What a fine example of how that roll-up-your-sleeves-and-do-it-yourself pioneer spirit continues to thrive in Leonard and Addison Township.
The rock wall will serve as an invaluable part of efforts to help Leonard kids stay fit and healthy.
"It's not just for climbing," Johnson said. "There's so many different activities for them to learn and do."
The suggestion to install a rock wall at Leonard Elementary came from Luba.
"It's just one more tool for us to use to keep them active," he said. "It definitely helps with hand-eye coordination, (building) upper body strength and agility. It also helps them in overcoming certain fears that they might have."
"These kids really deserve it and I know they're going to have a good time on it," Luba added. "I just look forward to seeing their faces once they start climbing that wall. That's the biggest thing I'm looking forward to."
Good job, Leonard PTO! You truly do what you do for the kids, a rare thing these days.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.