Langton Public School raises funds for playground equipment

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Langton Public School principal Tracy Rodrigues really didn't know how Illusionist Lucas Wilson was going to saw her in half.

"I never did talk to him about it," Rodrigues laughed. "I didn't know if I was supposed to do something..."

Wilson just did it, and the illusion worked perfectly.

Wilson, his assistant Kelly Defilla, and Rodrigues received a round of applause from the 200-plus audience at the Friday, April 27 magic show organized by Langton Public School and the Langton Parent Council at Valley Heights Secondary School raising money for the Langton school's playground equipment fund.

Langton Public School has been without playground equipment for the past two years.

"They decided it was unsafe so it was cordoned off with safety tape and I believe it was last spring, it was removed," said teacher Lori DeCloet.

The swings remain, but they are roped off.

"I think we're waiting for some word on whether or not they can be repaired or whether they have to come out."

"The need is incredibly great," she added.

Without slides, swings, monkey bars, or other climbing equipment, what they have is a yard with a lot of grass and some sandy areas to play in.

"A lot of cooperative games... and we've got a playground leaders program going now," said Rodrigues, noting the students are able to stay active. "They play football, basketball, soccer, all that kind of stuff too."

The school's goal is to replace the playground equipment, and that means raising $50,000.

"We're trying to choose something that will benefit the whole school," said DeCloet. "We hope to choose something that would be appropriate for all our (Kindergarten to Grade 8) age groups."

"One of our big things is we want to get an accessible playground for all the kids to play on," said Rodrigues, noting they are considering multiple phases for the project.

"I think we can... because I think they're doing that in Houghton."

It's still early in the fundraising process - small schools typically raise funds 3-5 years to reach that amount, said DeCloet, and with less than 200 students Langton Public is a comparatively small school.

"We've done well for starters. We're a really tiny community, and you have to remember there's two schools in our community. There's another school right across the street."

In December a "low-level" fundraising initiative was introduced, and in the next four months they had raised just over $10,000, which included generous donations from the community.

"It's a lot of work," nodded DeCloet, who suggested The Illusionist: Lucas Wilson from Port Dover, a four-time Guinness World Record holder, do a fundraising show.

"I had taught members of his family when I was in Port Rowan Public, so I knew Lucas there. Lucas' father was a teacher here at this school at one time, and Lucas did attend here for a couple years as well. I thought this would be something we could do for families, an all-inclusive thing. Not just for kids, not just for adults, a family event."

Tickets for a barbecue fire pit were also sold at the show as an extra fundraiser.

At the conclusion of Wilson and Defilla's one hour show Rodrigues thanked everyone for attending, and announced they were very close to $12,000.

"We've been a couple years without playground equipment, so we are working really, really hard and we really appreciate all of you coming out tonight."



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