Recess at the Lawrence Intermediate School just received a reboot – a new swing set and a renovated basketball court – thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Lawrence Township Education Foundation.
The nonprofit group approved the grant application, which was suggested by a handful of Lawrence Intermediate School students and supported by Lawrence Intermediate School Principal Alyson Fischer.
The students approached Fischer and asked her why the Lawrence Intermediate School did not have a swing set. The elementary schools have swing sets, but their school – which enrolls students in grades 4-6 – does not, they said.
The students said that the sixth grade is the last opportunity for them to have recess. The Lawrence Middle School, which enrolls students in grades 7-8, does not have a recess period.
Fischer was convinced.
“Recognizing not only the students’ desire for a swing set, but also the importance of recess and structured and non-structured play that is so necessary, Alyson applied for the grant,” said Karen Faiman, executive director of the Lawrence Township Education Foundation.
To bolster their case, the students created a video and submitted it to the Lawrence Township Education Foundation’s Board of Directors, Faiman said. It was that video that swayed the board to approve the grant request for the swing set, basketball court renovations and repainting the blacktop for games and other activities, she said.
With the grant in hand, the students approached the Lawrence Township Council at the council’s Feb. 15 meeting, seeking permission to put the swing set on land next to the school that belongs to Lawrence Township. Permission was granted.
Mayor John Ryan and Township Councilmen James Kownacki and Michael Powers praised the students for applying for the grant and for coming to the Lawrence Township Council for permission to put it on township-owned land.
Township Councilwoman Cathleen Lewis told the students that “you are all to be commended for following the process” and asking for help.
Township Councilman Christopher Bobbitt agreed with Lewis.
“It’s great to see you have gone through the process. This is how you get things done,” Bobbitt said.