John Davidson raising funds for playground

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Grade 7 student Maria Banman puts up a garage sale poster she made for John Davidson School's fundraiser Saturday, May 27.

*UPDATE: The call for donations and the initial sale was so successful, the garage sale will continue from 1 to 4 p.m., Friday, June 2, and 8:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 3.*


COALDALE -- Staff and parents at John Davidson School in Coaldale are rolling up their sleeves this weekend with the hopes that students can enjoy the fruits of their labour in the near future.

The school will be holding a garage sale this Saturday, May 27, with funds going towards new playground equipment.  The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the school at 2016 19 Street, with cash sales only. Donated goods are still being accepted at the school from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

The cost of the new playground equipment, including installation, is about $120,000. The John Davidson School community has raised more than $45,000 over the past two years, and needs to reach the $55,000 mark before matching funds can be applied for through the provincial Community Facility Enhancement Program.

The Palliser school, which offers an alternative program for Low German-speaking Mennonite children in kindergarten to Grade 9, has enjoyed strong community support to date.

 Its fundraising efforts include $20,000 from the Coaldale Health and Wellness Association, $10,000 from the Coaldale Kinsmen Club and $5,000 in a Land Trust Reserve Fund grant. Staff, students and parents have also raised funds through a number of other events including barbecues, special hot lunches and poinsettia sales.

Principal Janice Loitz says some of the playground equipment dates back 20 years or more and some elements have already been removed. The existing structure will be demolished with the new playground to be located in the same location.

Enrolment was less than 100 when the alternative program was first offered at John Davidson School in 2009. There were 164 students this year, with enrolment of more than 180 expected next school year.