Community pitches in for New Ken school
By all appearances, scores of students and adults in New Kensington had no qualms about spending a beautiful spring Saturday morning at school.
But this was no regular school day — the volunteers were outside, working to improve the playground and landscaping around Greenwald Memorial School.
What started as a PTA fundraising project for new playground equipment at the elementary school morphed into a community event to make the school grounds a more inviting place.
“We never thought it would take off like this,” said Nicole Henry, PTA vice president. “The outpouring from the community is amazing.”
PTA President April Stone said the group began talking to district officials last summer about getting playground equipment for the primary school, which had only a small basketball court in the way of outside amenities.
A fundraising campaign was launched, and the community stepped up to fund the $11,000 in equipment, plus several thousand dollars more in landscaping and other materials.
Stone said the New Kensington Eagles' $5,000 donation was a big boost to the campaign.
The equipment, a primary-colored unit with two sliding boards and climbing apparatus, was purchased at a discount through retailer Snider and Associates and manufacturer BCI Burke.
As the PTA was planning to have the equipment installed, Comcast approached it about including the school in the company's annual Comcast Cares Day.
Company employees and their friends and families were expected to donate their time at more than 600 community projects nationwide on Saturday.
“We're honored to partner with the Greenwald Elementary PTA to work together to build a playground during our 12th Comcast Cares Day,” Jim Samaha, senior vice president for Comcast's Keystone Region, said in a statement.
“The hard work of the volunteers who will be donating their time to help make such a big difference in the lives of others is inspiring, and I am thankful to all of our participants who are helping to make the day a success.”
“They went above and beyond,” Stone said of Comcast, which also provided mulch, food and T-shirts in addition to volunteers.
Stone and Comcast spokesman Bob Grove said the company also planned to make a financial donation that amounted to about $18 to $20 per community member who showed up on Saturday — leading the PTA to urge as many people as possible to volunteer.
The effort paid off: an estimated 150 people registered. They were bustling around the school grounds; planting flowers; fixing basketball hoops; painting games and decorations on the asphalt; and installing an outdoor classroom with benches and planters in the shade of a flowering tree.
Stone said many Valley High School students joined the effort, which, in turn, helped them earn community service hours required for graduation.
School board members and Arnold and New Kensington elected officials also were on hand, and Superintendent John Pallone said public works crews from the two cities also assisted.
“It's a phenomenal project,” Pallone said. “To see the private sector, the volunteers and the public sector all working hand-in-hand to do something good for the youth of the community — it's a beautiful partnership.”
And the partnership reached beyond the two cities' borders. Helen Loscar of Washington Township joined the effort through her Squirrel Hill-based church, the Greater Pittsburgh Church of Christ.
Loscar said this is the third year she has volunteered in conjunction with Comcast Cares Day. She spent the morning planting flowers at Greenwald.
“We were so impressed to see the young people here volunteering,” Loscar said. “It's a good thing.”
“It's a nice, positive thing,” said Michele Claassen, secretary of Greenwald's PTA. “We get a bad rap in New Kensington, but it's a great community.”
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Kensington homicide suspect faces trial on tampering charge
- Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation donates $12,000 to revamping middle school library
- Brackenridge high-rise infested with bed bugs
- Middle schoolers stem STEM Challenge at Penn State New Kensington
- DUI checkpoints take on dangerous drivers
- Upper Burrell man accused of selling Suboxone
- Frankstown Acres parents pleased — kids stay at Center Elementary
- Machinists ranked No. 1 occupation by Department of Labor
- No eagle cam for Harmar next year but 2 for Hays
- Stretch of Route 56 to close
- Freeport sewage rates to jump 25 percent