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Palsson celebrates $5,000 win but falls short of grand prize

Close: School finishes off the podium in bid to earn $50,000 for new playground
Palsson playground/kids
Palsson Elementary School playground site is crowded during a school lunch break.

It wasn’t the news Palsson Elementary School was hoping for, but it’s good news nonetheless.

Palsson will receive a $5,000 grant to improve the school’s playground after finishing in the top 10 of the Aviva Community Fund competition which began back in the fall.

Although the school learned yesterday it had not won the $50,000 grand prize in its category, the $5,000 was guaranteed to every finalist that qualified during a community voting period.

“The winners were announced on Canada AM yesterday morning between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. and we’re very happy we’re going to get $5,000 to help towards our new playground,” said Karen Hoskins, chairperson of Palsson’s Parent Advisory Council.

As a result of receiving the prize money, the attention of Hoskins and company will now turn to add-ons to the current playground in existence at the school.

“We’re looking at add-ons and purchasing a new structure to go with the existing one,” said Hoskins, who is unsure thus far as to when the PAC will receive the money from Aviva.

“We will also continue to work in conjunction with the school board (School District 79) who have stated there could be a further $8,000 available to us from them around April.”

Erica Blume, a substitute teacher at the school, entered Palsson’s bid for a brand-new playground into the competition back in September.

“We’re very excited to be $5,000 closer to building our new playground,” said Blume. “It’s more money than we had in hand when we entered the competition and is a good paycheck for two months work.”

Blume also believes the competition has raised more awareness throughout the community of Palsson’s evident need for a new playground.

“It’s not just used by the school, it’s used by the community too. It’s about getting a more appropriate place for the children to play well in school.

“My son is four and he will go to that school and he uses it to play when we pick his sister up and she’s eight. (The current playground structure) is a great size for four year-olds but not great for eight and nine year-olds. We’ll try again next year and hopefully we’ll bring home all of the money.”

The top 10 finalists were then judged by a panel who based the final result on longevity, likelihood of success, number of votes and originality amongst other things.