WorldLegacy refurbishes playground at St. Helena school

| November 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Father Richard Villano, St. Helena pastor, cuts the ribbon Nov. 5 on St. Helena Catholic School’s newly remodeled playground. Courtesy St. Helena

Participants in WorldLegacy, a North Carolina-based leadership program, selected St. Helena Catholic School as the beneficiary for an international fundraising effort and construction project.

WorldLegacy raised funds and coordinated community efforts to add a new playground structure, basketball and pickleball courts, and asphalt games at the school Nov. 3-5.

As part of the WorldLegacy strategy, the funds had to be raised in 10 days, and the seven-person WorldLegacy team, which included members from five countries, had to complete the project‚ with community help, in three days.

Students play on St. Helena’s new outdoor basketball court that was installed as part of a WorldLegacy project Nov. 3-5 at the Minneapolis school. Courtesy St. Helena

WorldLegacy participant Delaney Berger advocated for his group to choose the playground project because of his connections to a Stillwater preschool that is a sister school to St. Helena’s Discovery Center, a preschool that opened last year. St. Helena’s preschool needed a new preschool playground structure to complete its outdoor National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation, which makes its students eligible for state-funded tuition assistance, said Principal Jane Hileman.

The WorldLegacy team chose to expand the project to a makeover of its grade school playground, including a regulation-size basketball court from Sport Court North. Hileman said that court is a big deal for the school’s students, as the 91-year-old school has never had a regulation gymnasium.

“Our kids can now throw a free throw in a regulation [court],” she said.

After the fundraising blitz, the project began noon Friday, Nov. 3, as a snowfall blanketed the city. Despite the wet weather, teachers, parents and other community members worked alongside the WorldLegacy team to complete the project by its Sunday evening deadline.

St. Helena pastor Father Richard Villano cut the project’s ribbon in the dark 6:30 p.m. Nov. 5.

Hileman estimates about $65,000 in funds and gifts was donated for the project.

“It came so quickly, that it was a, ‘Whoah, what is this all about?’ sort of thing,” she said.

The project’s WorldLegacy team members came from Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Kazakhstan and the United States.

More than 42 percent St. Helena’s students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. “We’re a pretty blue collar Catholic school,” Hileman said, which contributes to the school’s gratitude to have been chosen for the WorldLegacy project.

“The idea of WorldLegacy is to say we’re part of a much bigger whole,” she said. “If seven people [can] do this, you can go out an ask for things as well. It’s the idea that we want to give people the opportunity enroll in giving, and it is in giving, obviously, that we know we receive so much more.”

She added: “While [WorldLegacy] is not tied to religion, it’s very much based on that sentiment, that you’re very much doing something for others and putting others ahead of your cause.”

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Category: Local News