Strawtown Elementary School students turned the grassy area outside the school into a sea of red, white and blue on Monday. The entire student body was divided into three teams for the annual Field Day program. This year’s event was even more special with the dedication of their new playground equipment
Irene Tagaris, president of the Strawtown PTA, said the new zip line, balance beam, stepping mushrooms and musical instruments cost about $8,000 with an additional $2,500 spent on installation. She noted the suggestion to add to the playground equipment came from Karen Verga, who chairs the PTA’s Playground Committee.
Verga recalled that 10 years ago the West Nyack school had a wooden playground, which was replaced. She said the intention since then has been to add more options but it did not happen until this school year.
“I’m excited,” said Verga adding, “I wish that it didn’t so long.”
Although most of the equipment was installed in the fall so the kindergarten through fifth grade students could enjoy it through the school year, the finishing touches to the garden area took place on Monday. Principal Deirdra O’Connor asked the children to name the different items added to the playgrounds.
Tagaris said the PTA raised the money through a variety of activities including after-school enrichment programs, a school fair, the sale of coupon books, and kids’ art displays. Families, who contributed $150 or more, had their names, engraved on a plaque. The plaque was placed on a large rock donated by Tilcon.
Tagaris said several individuals played key roles in the addition: Eric Kechejian, who has two children who attend Strawtown and is the director of safety for Tilcon, Bill Poole, Tilcon chief operating officer, John Rufer, West Nyack area manager for Tilcon and Ferguson Landscaping and Steve Weiss Landscaping for donating their services.
“I would like to thank all the parents for their tremendous support,” she said prior to Kechejian cutting the purple ribbon draped across the plaque for Strawtown Stallion Park.
The students played a drum roll on their knees as they waited for Physical Education Teacher John Fitzgerald to announce the team scores. They cheered as each team's results were announced. The red team finished in first place with 301 points, trailed closely by the white team with 298 points. The blue team received 274 points.
School Board member Diane Hoeneveld presented three fourth grade students with $100 scholarships from the West Nyack Rotary. The recipients demonstrated the principles of Rotary, whose motto is "Service above Self." Academics are part of the criteria whose main focus is good citizenship.
The basis for selection is that students should live up to the Rotary Four-Way Test, which is as follows:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Students Michael Dwyer, Dylan Hausner and Dora Teising will have their names added to a plaque outside the school office.