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Pioneer gets grant for playground rock-wall

Pioneer Elementary parents, teachers and students say thanks to Lowe’s for the $5,000 grant which made their playground rock-wall possible. -
Pioneer Elementary parents, teachers and students say thanks to Lowe’s for the $5,000 grant which made their playground rock-wall possible.
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ARLINGTON — Even before the start of the new school year, area children have been able to enjoy the latest feature of Pioneer Elementary.

The Pioneer Elementary Parent Teacher Student Association and Lowe’s jointly funded a climbing rock-wall structure in the school playground, raising a total of $10,101.26 between them.

Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded a $5,000 “Toolbox for Education” grant to Pioneer for the rock-wall. Pioneer was one of approximately 1,000 schools and parent organizations across the country to be awarded such a grant, for parent-initiated school improvement projects benefiting K-12 public education, during the 2007-2008 school year.

The rock-wall was completed late in July with matching funds from the Pioneer PTSA, which simply went to its families and asked them to donate what they could, according to Pioneer PTSA member Denise Kraski.

“This is our school playground’s second year,” Kraski said. “When it was first installed, we didn’t have the funds for a rock-wall, so we went looking for a grant.”

“With the matching funds, our families just said, ‘Let’s get it done,’” Pioneer Principal Karl Olson said of the PTSA’s donation drive this past spring. “We got a great response from them. Our families just rally around any project for the school. It’s wonderful.”

Olson and Kraski reported that, since its installation, the rock-wall has been enjoyed not only by some of Pioneer’s more than 500 K-5 students, but also by children of Pioneer teachers, children from the Arlington Boys and Girls Club, and many others throughout the community.

“Through our ‘Toolbox for Education’ grant program, Lowe’s has recognized parent-initiated efforts to enrich the lives of children in our communities,” said Larry D. Stone, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “By supporting schools like Pioneer Elementary, we believe we are contributing to a cause that’s important to our customers and employees, and helping build a stronger foundation for the children who will be tomorrow’s employees, homeowners and community leaders.”

Launched in partnership with PTO Today, a leading organization serving parent-teacher groups, the “Toolbox for Education” program provided grants totaling $6.5 million during the 2007-2008 school year, including grants of up to $500,000 for school improvement initiatives. All K-12 schools in the United States are eligible, and parent groups may apply by visiting www.toolboxforeducation.com.

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