Making Awesome Changes: Randolph Elementary School wins new playground

First military school to win Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes

By Diana Winters - Executive Producer, SA Live

SAN ANTONIO - Children at Randolph Elementary School are making awesome changes with a brand new playground.

On Thursday morning, the school became the first ever military school to win a Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes prize, worth more than $60,000 in funding, playscapes and sporting equipment.

"They're going to get a playground from Playworld, $15,000 in cash and $15,000 in equipment," said Susan Ralston, senior advisor for the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.

The foundation partnered with Discovery Education for the sweepstakes. They will work with the school to install the playground by the 2017-2018 school year.

"We should be able to really restock our P.E. departments," Randolph Elementary School Principal Allana Hemenway said. "You talk to any child and ask them, 'What was the best part of your day?' And typically, they may have loved that reading lesson or math lesson, but what are they going to tell you? 'Recess.'"

Hemenway said it is particularly difficult for military children to make friends, which is why time on the playground is so important for them.

"That's one of the hardest things for the military child," Hemenway said. "They move around so much. In fact, they usually attend between six to nine schools in their K-12 education, and so having this time to meet a new friend is so important to them."

Hemenway found out about the sweepstakes through the school's grant coordinator and sent an email to students' parents to tell them to get involved.

"Those parents said, 'Hey, let's see what we can do.' And so they spread the word with the other parents and they started entering through email," Hemenway said.

Soon, parents had contributed heavily to the 617,000 entries into the sweepstakes, and Randolph Elementary was selected as a prize recipient.

The new playground will give students a place to bond and play, a chance to make new friends and to keep kids active and healthy.

For more information about other Making Awesome Changes programs to reduce childhood obesity in our area, visit Salud-America.org.

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