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Parents Put Work into Play

When it comes to play spaces for their children, the Cedar Trails Elementary PTO really goes to work.

The PTO’s parents pitched in financially and physically to build new play structures for Cedar Trails’ 800 pupils. They wielded wrenches and post-hole diggers on a recent Friday to erect a slide and climbing equipment for the school’s preschoolers and kindergartners.

Meanwhile, the Cedar Springs High School soccer teams put together an enclosure called a Gaga Pit, where first-graders will play a kind of dodgeball game. Trevor Brown, left, a Cedar Trails parent, and Steve Harper, husband of Co-principal Jennifer Harper, install a slide

 Co-principal Jennifer Harper said PTO contributions and school funds covered the $22,000 cost of the play structures and $5,000 for the Gaga Pit. The work was overseen by a supervisor for the Superior Play company, a manufacturer’s representative for Landscape Structures. The new play spaces were needed to supplement existing equipment, she said.

“This is pretty sparse when you have 125 kids out here at a time,” Harper said.

A planned second phase of the project will include a wheelchair-accessible track for students with special needs, she said.

The varsity and JV soccer teams had a tough time figuring out how to piece together the Gaga Pit, but finally got the octagonal structure in place.

JV coach Ron Fisk, who went to Cedar Trails as a child, said it was a good community activity for his team. “It’s nice to see people who grew up in the area out here helping out,” Fisk said.

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Cedar Trails Elementary

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers series and issues stories for all districts. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio

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