By David Fong
TROY — For generations, knowledge has flown freely through Kyle Elementary School.
Now the water flows a little better, too.
Thanks to the year-long efforts of the Kyle fourth-grade classes taught by Kris Pascale and A.J. Marrs, the school now has a water fountain with a water bottle refilling station, which should allow students to stay cool and hydrated in a school with no air conditioning for many years to come.
The line to the old water fountain on the school’s second floor would experience frequent delays, particularly during hot and humid days at the beginning school year in August and the end of the year in May. Students were allowed to bring water bottles from home, but the low flow coming out of the old fountain made refilling the bottles through the course of the school day a chore for all involved.
“There was always a big line at the drinking fountain,” fourth grade student Kaitlyn Stiltner said. “And the arc on the water fountain was really low, so it would really take awhile to fill up your water bottle.”
Classmate Alice Brown agreed.
“When you would tip over your bottle, you couldn’t fill it up,” she said.
Last fall, the fourth graders decided they wanted to do something to fix the problem. That’s when Pascale suggested they look into the purchase of a new water fountain that would allow students to easily refill their water bottles.
“Mrs. Pascale found a picture of a water bottle filler and showed it to us,” fourth-grade student Roman Moreno said. “She said we could try to raise the money to but the new water fountain.”
The cost of the new water fountain was around $430 dollars. Pascale and Marrs decided to use the purchase of the fountain as a teaching moment and turned the purchase into a project that would stretch throughout the school year.
“I think that kids and adults — myself included — tend to get things rather quickly after we wish for them,” Pascale said. “To me, this was an example of waiting for a payoff and learning that sometimes in life you have to work for things. I think they also learned businesses and other entities have to communicate and be able to work toward something together.”
The students first contacted local business partners to see if they would donate to the cause. The Kyle PTO, First Financial Bank, Lightner and Stickel CPAs and Kerber Sheet Metal all generously donated. Still, though, the students were $150 short of the goal. That’s when they went to the Kyle PTO again and, rather than asking for a hand out, asked for a hand up, getting a zero-interest loan to cover the final costs.
“First Financial Bank came in and talked to us about loans,” Pascale said. “The kids understood what interest was and what a zero-interest loan was.”
To pay back the PTO, the students are selling hand-decorated pencils to other students in the school for $1 apiece. Each pencil is hand-decorated and no two are the same.
When the students began filling their water bottles Tuesday, they knew the hard work had been worth it.
“It’s the biggest relief I’ve ever had,” student Raegan Boehringer said. “We’ve been waiting for this since the beginning of the school year. With all the work we’ve put in, it was good just to get it.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong
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