Schools

Farmers sought to raise money for STEAM playground

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NEW MARKET — New Market Elementary’s parent-teacher organization is calling on Montgomery County farmers to help raise money for the school’s STEAM playground.

The school announced plans last year to turn the playground into a science park, combining traditional recreation with hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. More than $113,000 has been raised through grants, donations and fundraisers toward a goal of approximately $230,000.

The PTO is seeking a $5,000 grant through the Bayer Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, which selects farmers to nominate a nonprofit or charity organization for the money.

Montgomery County farmers over the age of 21 can register at americasfarmers.com. Deadline is Nov. 1. Winners are expected to be announced by early next year.

Since 2010, the program has awarded more than $60 million to thousands of organizations nationwide. Among local recipients, nonprofit Waveland Strong received money to fund community events and beautification projects and Southmont High School’s science department got funding for lab equipment.

When Southmont science teacher Tony Gonczarow, whose wife is a teacher at New Market where their children attended, learned about the playground, he joined the fundraising committee.

“It just seemed like a really worthwhile activity to take part in,” Gonczarow said.

Enough money has been raised to purchase the first phase of the park, which includes a large playground structure, fitness course, basketball and soccer goals, swings, volleyball and triple hoop net, said Brittany Cooper, the school’s principal.

Future phases of the project will include a school garden.

The demolition and removal of the old playground equipment and excavation work has been donated to the PTO, Gonczarow said.

For more information about supporting the project, visit http://southmontschools.org/steam-playground-fundraiser or call the school at 765-866-0740.

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