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Kids raise funds for playground equipment

Oakhills Elementary School celebrates 20th anniversary with obstacle course
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Grace Corrigan waits until the first-graders settle down and then explains the rules of the obstacle course station she co-designed.

“OK, so here’s what you do,” Grace, a third-grader, said. “Girls get a red fluffy ball and boys get a green fluffy ball.”

The students stand in two lines and attempt to toss the ball through the hoop, and keep trying until they succeed, as Grace and co-designer Nichole Criscoine dodge their crazy throws.

“This is like the 50th time I’ve been beaten up,” Grace said, as a boy launches a ball at the hoop over her head and misses.

It’s all part of the fun during an obstacle course organized by third graders at Oakhills Elementary School in Granite Bay Friday to raise money for new playground equipment and celebrate the school’s 20th anniversary.

The school will host another celebration on the last day of school, June 9, for all current and former students and teachers, during which a time capsule containing artifacts selected by current classes will be buried.

Earlier this semester, third-graders were told they could organize a fundraiser to generate funds for anything they deemed necessary. The students brainstormed options — an outdoor movie theater and trampoline were shot down — and presented five ideas to the rest of the student body.

Each of the roughly 400 children cast a vote, and exercise circuit equipment won.

“They had a choice of about anything and that’s what they chose,” said parent Mindi Stewart, who helped with the event.

The kids raised money through lemonade stands, garage sales, extra household chores and one girl earned cash for each mile she walked in a week, finishing with six miles and $102. The school is at 40 percent of its $10,000 goal.

“It’s so neat to see how creative the kids have been,” said Principal Kristi Ellison.

The obstacle course is the fun payoff for the students’ fundraising efforts.

“The main goal is for this to be student-facilitated and to teach students to fundraise for something they found a need for,” Ellison said.

At one station, third-grader Maddy Welden waits for the next group of students. Her role is to demonstrate the activity, which involves balancing a ball on a racquet.

“Some kids kind of drop it,” Maddy said. “We make comments and say, ‘Good job balancing the ball.’”

This is not an easy time financially for the district because of state budget cuts and declining enrollment, said Eureka Union School District board member Andy Sheehy who attended the event to support his son.

Fundraisers such as Oakhills’ and those organized by the volunteer-run Eureka Schools Foundation supplement the district’s shrinking budget and show kids the value of helping their campus.

“We’re doing so much fundraising within the parent community and (this event) makes students understand and see the connection,” Ellison said.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.

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Oakills Elementary School 20th anniversary

When: 12:15-1:15 p.m. Thursday, June 9

Where: Oakhills Elementary School, 9233 Twin Schools Road in Granite Bay

Info: All current and former students and teachers invited to attend. The school will have cake and lemonade and commemorate the occasion by burying a time capsule. For more information, call (916) 791-5391.