SOUTHINGTON â€“ Derynoski Elementary Schoolâ€™s Parent-Teacher Organization has been hard at work since March collecting recycled materials and voting daily in an effort to win a new playscape through the 2019 Colgate & ShopRite Recycled Playground Challenge.
The challenge kicked off May 10 and ends June 30. It is for schools in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland. Schools can earn playground credits by voting for their school and recycling used oral care products (dental picks, dental floss containers, toothpaste tubes and packages, toothbrushes, etc.). Each vote and each unit of recycled material (0.02 pounds) earns the school one playground credit. When the contest concludes, the school with the highest number of playground credits will receive a playground made from recycled materials valued at $55,000. The second place prize is a â€śvillage playhouseâ€ť and slide valued at $25,000. Third place will be a ShopRite gift card valued at $1,250.
Currently, Derynoski Elementary School is in second place for the contest. Mountain View School in Bristol is in first.
Shannon Eterginio is one of approximately 50 parent volunteers at Derynoski working to win the challenge for the school.
â€śI absolutely love this campaign because it does a tremendous job of promoting recycling and actually demonstrates the outcome of recycling,â€ť she said. â€śFurthermore, it gives back to the community. As a parent of two kids who attend Derynoski, I am also supporting this because the school really needs a new playground. The current structure is over 25 years old and itâ€™s in a sad state of disrepair. In fact â€“ a lot of the structure is blocked off from use because itâ€™s not safe to use. Derynoski Elementary has 540 students in grades K to 5 and doesnâ€™t have a decent playground â€“ yikes. The school really needs it. I am only a Derynoski parent for two more years â€“ but this playground will impact thousands of kids for years.â€ť
Eterginio credited Jill Battaglia as the â€śdriving forceâ€ť behind rallying the community to this cause.
â€śWe have a huge contingent of PTO members who have been putting the word out to vote and voting on behalf of community members who send us emails every day,â€ť Battaglia said. â€śThey are a great group of parents who are really involved in the school and the kids are so happy to help bring in recycled materials knowing that it can help get them something cool like a new playscape.â€ť
Battaglia said that collections are being done at the YMCA, outside of the senior center, at several local dental offices, and outside of Derynoski Elementary School. Collections were done in the school during the school year.
â€śIâ€™ve been leading this charge because there are 540 kids at our school and two grades use the playscape at a time â€“ which means 180 kids,â€ť said Battaglia. â€śThe current playscape is 25 plus years old and we as a PTO have had to make repairs and replace different parts. It is apparent that it is toward the end of its life and itâ€™s time to replace it. There have to be a lot of play options for a playscape used by this many students at a time.â€ť
Battaglia said she is optimistic that Derynoski can win the contest. Kelley Elementary School won second place two years ago and Flanders Elementary School won the grand prize several years ago. Derynoskiâ€™s PTO will be collecting materials and voting right through the end of the contest.
â€śWeâ€™re going to keep working hard for the kids,â€ť she said. â€śHopefully we can get it done for them.â€ť
For more information, or to vote, visit https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/contests/colgateshopriteplayground2019. To donate materials, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.