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PES Plays hits target at Tiskilwa

TISKILWA — Though the weather may be turning a bit colder, Reagan Middle School students are hoping for a few more mild days to take advantage of some new outdoor equipment installed on the school playground.

On Friday, PES Plays Committee representative Sarah Aley said the new playground equipment is an upgrade made possible through a lot of community support. In addition to the Reagan School equipment, new basketball hoops were installed at Lincoln Elementary School at the beginning of the school year. Also, Jefferson Elementary School is scheduled to have new equipment delivered and installed within the next few weeks.

“The great thing about this project is that there is plenty of credit to pass around,” Aley said.  “Students, teachers, parents, community members and businesses have all been instrumental in this project’s success. None of us are professional fundraisers, but we are dedicated to the children of this community.”

Hopefully, these upgrades are only Phase 1 of the PES Plays project, and more upgrades can be done as additional funds become available, Aley said.

The PES Plays group was formed about two years ago and consists of Princeton Elementary School District teachers, parents and concerned community members who saw the need for new playground equipment in the district. The group decided  Jefferson, Lincoln, and Reagan school sites would all get upgrades to their equipment.

Aley said each school has unique needs, based on the condition of its current equipment and the age of students attending that school. With that in mind, each school’s upgrades were designed to be unique to meet the needs at the school, she said.

The total cost of the project was originally estimated at $200,000, but it would be great to complete the project under that amount, Aley said.

“We are installing equipment as money is raised, so the children benefit as soon as possible. And we are trying to be good stewards of these funds,” she said.

Fundraising for PES Plays started about a year ago and has included penny collections at the schools, a “Play it Forward” auction, a walk-a-thon, an auction sponsored by the Women of the Princeton Moose Lodge, Monical’s pizza night, Lia Sophia parties, jeans days for teachers, and donations from medical professionals, businesses and community organizations.

Looking ahead to upcoming fundraisers, Aley said the gym teachers are planning the second annual walk-a-thon with the children and a”Rumble for the Kids,” a professional wrestling event on April 20, 2013, at Logan Junior High School, will benefit PES Plays.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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