Briarwood marches on in quest for new playground equipment

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published June 1, 2012

 Briarwood students walk the track in the second annual Parade for the Playground May 18.

Briarwood students walk the track in the second annual Parade for the Playground May 18.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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WARREN — The Briarwood Elementary School community gathered on the soccer field the warm afternoon of May 18 to hold its second annual Parade for the Playground event.

With sneaker laces tied, colorful signs in hand and chants of “Let’s go, Briarwood, let’s go,” the students — grouped by class — walked the school’s outdoor track to raise money to purchase new playground equipment. The footsteps of teachers, parent volunteers and retired Briarwood Principal Mary Tewksbury followed.

During spring break in April, the students took home pledge sheets to collect monetary donations from family, friends and neighbors for the fundraiser. Briarwood is part of Warren Woods Public Schools.

Parent Teacher Committee President Ariel Bingle said the goal is to raise the $10,000 needed to buy new playground equipment. Between this year’s and last year’s parade, the students raised about $7,000. Although they’re shy of the overall goal, PTC members soon will begin shopping around for new equipment.

“We’re looking to see what is available to us,” said Bingle, who along with Jaime LaBelle served as parade co-chairs. “We’re just excited. We’re hoping (in) one more year we’ll get the funding needed.”

About four or five outdated play structures that didn’t pass safety codes were removed from the school. Because of budget cuts, school personnel can’t finance playground equipment right now, so the school’s PTC stepped up and organized the Parade for the Playground.

“Education is so important, and they also need time to release their energy,” Bingle said.

The students were hyped about the parade.

“You could feel the excitement in the lunchroom today,” Principal Christine Walter said. “It’s awesome we have a great day. It brings us together. All of our students are participating; you see all the parents that came up from the community; and we have a core group of volunteers.”

“So far we’re on our third lap,” fourth-grader Logan Gregersen said as the event got under way. “The fun part is talking to your friends and getting more social, obviously. I think it’s a great idea because our playground equipment is kind of getting old. It’s been here a long time.”

Along with the Parade for the Playground, the students held a loose change drive earlier in the school year in which they raised about $2,000.

Several businesses donated time and prizes to help make parade day a success. A complimentary pedometer for each student came courtesy of a local Walgreens store, and staff from the 7-Eleven store at 12 Mile and Schoenherr donated coupons.

First-grader Jordan Bingle, the top money earner, was the winner of a new bike from Macomb Bike and Fitness on Schoenherr. Great Skate, Sterling Lanes, Jawros Golf Center and the Warren Community Center also helped to sponsor the parade.

Third-grade students Kendall Weidner and William Hiller were “excited” about the day’s events. Weidner couldn’t wait to see the bike winner.

“Maybe it’s someone in our class,” she said.

Monetary contributions for the new playground equipment are welcome. Money orders made out to the Briarwood PTC and cash donations can be dropped off at Briarwood, 14100 Leisure Drive in Warren, during school hours.

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