Students at Seffner Elementary School ended the school year with a bang, hosting a celebration to mark the opening of their refurbished baseball diamond.
The June 6 celebration featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony and special dance performance by students.
"As you know, funding has been cut in many areas for the public schools. One of those areas is in what we call 'special' classes, such as art, music and P[hysical] E[ducation]," said Amanda Craft, vice president of the Seffner Elementary PTA. "The students at Seffner Elementary only see their P.E. coach two days out of the week. The other three days, the children have teacher-directed P.E."
As a result, Craft said, students don't have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular sports. The school's baseball diamond became rundown and there was virtually no equipment for the students and teachers to use to play ball.
Third-grade teachers Jennifer Mingle, Christine Muslin and Sheena McDeed "took a proactive approach and are not only doing something great for the entire school but have also turned this into a project-based learning experience for their students," Craft said.
The third-graders researched the cost of rebuilding the field and purchasing sports equipment.
Through donations, a grant from the PTA and a bake sale in May that raised more than $350, the school was able to get the project started before the end of the school year, purchasing the red clay for the base line.
The next step is to raise the funds to complete the field improvements and purchase equipment. The school is currently seeking community groups and businesses willing to sponsor the project.
Donations can be sent to the school, to the attention of Amanda Craft, at 109 Cactus Road, Seffner, Fla., 33584. Checks should be made payable to "Seffner Elementary PTA."
"The students and teachers put a great deal of work into this project so any help from the community would be greatly appreciated," Craft said.