The beginning of the school year at Riverbend has been a very busy one for the middle school students.
This past Sunday a team of middle school kids and their parents constructed a full size Gaga pit on the elementary campus. This incredible project is an Octagon shape and is 20 ft in diameter and 30 inches high.
The project began last year when two students, Cameron and Noah (now both in eighth grade), were assigned a community project from our Design Lab class. This project had to be something that benefited the community and contained some element of engineering. The two students researched Gaga pits and wrote up a business plan on how it would be designed and how they would raise the funds.
Cameron started collecting cans over the summer for the deposits, which was a slow but steady trickle of income. This idea stemmed from a child in another community that had undergone a similar service project over a number of years. After collecting just over $40 on can deposits, the students decided to accelerate the project and its deadline. They proposed running a bake sale at the School’s “Back to School Picnic” on the first day of school, to both raise money for the project and educate the school community about the project. This turned out to be a huge success, with the bake sale alone earning over $700. In addition to the bake sale, the awareness that the event raised also procured four separate donations which allowed the students to reach their goal and purchase the necessary materials to begin construction.
Once the materials were purchased, the students spent a week sealing and waterproofing the boards under the guidance of our P.E. teacher Mr. Klinoff. Several of Riverbend’s middle school families (the Banthin, Peloquin, Hargrave, Papageorgiou and Strouse families) signed up to help with the building of the pit. The students and the families came together last Sunday and constructed the wonderful new Gaga Pit. Each grade level from the Upper School (grades 1-8) has had a chance to enjoy this new feature in P.E. class or recess and their joy is unmistakable everytime they hop in the ring!
We are so impressed with how much money the middle school earned in the fundraising, and truly inspired by how much effort and energy they put into organizing and running the entire project. We are very grateful for all who helped in the process and especially our students for undertaking this amazing community service project and gift to the school!