By TONIA HILL
St. Thomas the Apostle School (STA), 5467 S. Woodlawn Ave., began its official kickoff of its annual campaign “Reach for the STArs” on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
The school hosted a live kick-off event at Porkchop, 1516 E. Harper Ct., on Thursday, Nov. 2.
Porkchop donated 50 percent of checks from customers who want to support the school. Monies raised from the event will go toward the Reach for STArs campaign.
Reach for the STArs is an annual campaign at STA. Proceeds from this year’s fundraiser will support a brand new playground.
An empty lot located north of the school building, on Woodlawn Avenue is the future location of the school’s new playground. New York-based investment firm Pioneer Acquisitions donated the land for the playground.
“Children need room to play, it’s part of social, emotional, and cognitive development,” said STA Principal Tim Gallo in a previous article in the Herald. “We want our students to have an active play space that is safe. High-quality play spaces are hard to find in an urban setting, and we are lucky to have the opportunity to begin this project, thanks to Pioneer Acquisitions.”
The cost of the project is $150,000, and that includes all of the preparation work such as drainage, fencing, safe materials for students to play on and the playground equipment.
Proceeds from last year’s STA fundraiser went toward technology. An anonymous donor agreed to match every gift up to $30,000. Funds received from “The Reach for the STArs” campaign totaled $60,000, which helped STA in incorporating technology into students’ curriculum.
Classroom iPad sets and charging sets were provided to preschool through third grade classes. The school was also able to provide Google Chromebooks to its fourth and fifth grade students.
The school is also shifting how recess is structured. The school forged a partnership with Playworks, a nonprofit organization that will assist them in restructuring recess.
Playworks will provide professional development for the recess coordinator as well as introduce structured games for children during recess hours.
STA hopes to break ground by spring 2018.
Donations can be made online through the STA Give Central page, https://www.givecentral.org/location/358/event/13911, checks can be made out to St. Thomas the Apostle School, or with a credit card.
To find out more information about the project contact Mary Alice Acton, director of Advancement at STA, firstname.lastname@example.org.