New playground point of pride for FEB
Staff Reports, Hartselle Enquirer
F.E. Burleson Elementary School students and faculty will assemble on the new handicap accessible playground Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 8:45 a.m. for a dual purpose.
After opening the program with a welcome and pledge, those assembled will participate in The National Anthem project, which began earlier this year as an emphasis to re-teach our nation's anthem to participants all over the United States. At precisely 9 a.m., students all across the country will simultaneously sing "The Star-Spangled Banner."
This project started when musicians and music educators across America responded to a study that showed some 61percent of Americans do not know America's national song.
At F. E. Burleson, music teacher Debbie Queen has been doing her part to see that students at the school not only learn the words to the song, but also learn lyrics with a study of the composition and meaning of the anthem.
It seems fitting during this emphasis on a vital national symbol to recognize those in our local area who have demonstrated a strong sense of community citizenship. Sixty-seven businesses and organizations and numerous individuals from the Hartselle, Decatur and Huntsville areas donated money, goods and services to build the school's inclusive playground.
The playground project began two years ago by the school's Parent Teacher Organization. A committee was formed, including staff members Sue Hayes, Lisa Halbrooks and then principal Jim Grammer. Others included parents Rhonda McKissack, Konnye Holladay and Donna Legg-Battles, as well as Hartselle City Schools central office staff Jamie Roden, Lisa Gault and Anne Glasgow.
After months of research, site visits and surveys of school staff and students, fundraising efforts began. Students brought nickels, dimes and pennies. Parents and staff contributed. A wall in the main hallway of the school was dedicated to the cause. "Be A Star–Help Build Our Playground" became the theme. Every business and individual that contributed from the smallest to the largest amount of money was honored with their name on a star in the school's hallway.
Funds raised through businesses, individual contributions, a donation from the city, and special education funds combined to make the project a success. The inclusive playground opened in May of 2005 with structures affording numerous play opportunities for all students and an access station for handicapped students, as well as a handicap accessible swing.
On Sept. 14, school staff, PTO members and the student body will host representatives of the businesses and organizations who made the project a success.
The inclusive playground will be officially opened for play. The playground will be utilized by school children during school hours, but on weekends community children can be found enjoying the area, too.
"This project has been the result of many people working together for the good of the community and the students of F. E. Burleson Elementary," Hayes explained. "It is inclusive in many ways. Planning and raising money brought together many individuals, businesses and organizations to make it possible. As a result, all children, those physically disabled as well as those physically able, can find an activity to enjoy."
Hayes said play is a child's job and she firmly believes all children should be able to play and interact.
"Through this interaction they learn to value each other as individuals for the strengths that each possess," Hayes said. "They also learn to develop their bodies as they cooperate and learn to play safely. It is vital that we remove barriers that would interfere with this learning. After all, we are building the future of our community. The attitudes and values they acquire in elementary school are the attitudes and values that will guide them in the future."
Inclusive playground contributors
City of Hartselle
C&L Wood Products–Naturally Mulch
Corum' Building and Farm Center
David's Catfish Cabin
Dr. David Sittason, DMD
Dr. Doug Sittason, DMD
Eddie Preuitt Ford
F.E. Burleson PTO
F.E. Burleson student council
First American Bank
Hampton Realty, Inc.
Hartselle City Schools Maintenance and Special Services departments
Hartselle Eye Care
Hartselle Family Medicine
Hartselle High School Band Boosters
Hartselle Medical Center
Hartselle Rotary Club
Dr. James Joy, DMD
Jimmy Smith Jewelers
Dr. John T. Bachman, DMD
Kenneth Tankersley, Tankersley Service Center
Kiwanis Club of Hartselle
Lauren Brooke, Inc.
Legacy Portraits by Jennifer Culp
Lynn Layton Chevrolet
Madison &Grey, PC Attorneys at Law
McDonald &Richard Company
Dr. Michael McCutcheon, DMD
Parkway Auto Sales
Pearson Animal Hospital
Peck Funeral Home
Peck-Glasgow Agency, Inc.
Pepsi Cola Bottling
Preuitt Furniture Village
R&R Welding and Fabrication
Robert E. Slack, construction
Russell Forest Products
State Farm Insurance, Charles Howse and Chad Hughey
Steenson Motor Company
T&C Stamping, Inc.
Tanfastic Tanning Center
Additional goods and services provided by: Greg Bodley, Jim Hampton, Mike Haggemaker, James Hayes, Don Pouncey, Tommy Raley, Robert E. Slack, David Teague, Darren Tucker and Bob Godsey.