Current fourth and fifth grade students at the Vernon School took center stage as their project, started last year, came to fruition. They were all members of the Vernon Student Council and are: Tim Haefele, vice president; Austin Huminski, president; Caitlin DiBlasi, secretary; Nicole Turney, treasurer; Allison Competiello, publicity coodinator and Jaime Frydman, another publicity coordinator. The publicity coordinators made posters and did the morning announcements about the project in the school.
When the playground construction was completed earlier this school year, Principal Martin Malone thought that it was only right that the same Student Council members - now in the fifth and sixth grades - should be on hand to dedicate the playground and be among the first Vernon students to use it!
"Last year, they put together a proposal based on surveys to the then second graders at Roosevelt on what they would like to see in place at Vernon - when the younger students came to the school. The survey asked what equipment they would like: slides, swings, monkey bars - just what little kids would like to play on," said Vernon Principal Martin Malone.
"We were bringing up a lower grade and wanted to build this sense of ownership of the school by bringing them into the discussion," he said.
The result was an integrated math and science technology project - an MST. The students actually used their math skills to assess the volume of wood chips needed for the playground area. They needed to measure the perimeter of the site to come up with just how many linear feet were there to know how much lumber to purchase.
They were using great skills for future homeowners!
The students studied the location - looking at the trees, the drainage and the ground to figure what kind of planting would be needed, as well as taking into consideration what flowers and trees would grow there - the science part of the equation.
The students brought their proposal before the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education last year and they agreed to build it and this year, it became a reality, said Mr. Malone.
"It was a lot of fun and the kids worked hard on the project."
That was why he made sure the decision makers were on hand for the first use of the new facility.