Students at Otis Orchard Elementary, 22000 E. Wellesley Ave., have a new place to play on rainy days.
The East Valley school celebrated completion of its new pavilion last week with a reception and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The pavilion and the benches came from a $25,000 Apple Award Achievement Grant from the State Legislature recognizing the improvements students made in the last two years on the WASL test.
One of the stipulations a school must meet when it receives this grant is that the students and the community help decide what to do with it.
Principal Suzanne Savall said the students brainstormed, came up with a list of 10 items and eventually voted on the idea to build a pavilion.
The pavilion has tables and benches and the school’s PTSA contributed some money to purchase a barbecue to go in it.
Construction took place during spring break.
“We’ve really enjoyed it so much already,” Savall said.
The school held a small reception in the multipurpose room for the many special guests invited. Superintendent John Glenewinkel, State Representatives Matt Shea and Larry Crouse, and members of the school board enjoyed snacks and purple punch with lemon slices, to reflect the school colors.
The group moved outside to the pavilion and the school marimba band started to play. The students had gathered around the pavilion and burst into a round of “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” the state’s folk song.
The fifth-grade band played the “Viking March” and everyone took their seats for the ceremony.
Savall explained to the crowd how the school received the grant and expressed her pride in the students and staff.
“We have high expectations from our students,” she said.
She said she expects the school to use the pavilion on a daily basis. There are games and coloring books and other activities for the children at the school to enjoy when it is raining or the students can relax in the shade during hot days.
Glenewinkel said he was proud of the accomplishments of the school – Otis is one of five schools in the state to receive the award.
“I’d like to express my gratitude for the hard work of students and staff,” he said. “This is really a community event.”
When the ceremony was over, the students scrambled into the pavilion to play.