Tribe, Pto, Woodsmen Team Up For Courts

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Julia Randall Elementary School students will soon have new basketball courts thanks in part to a $10,000 grant from the Tonto Apache Tribe, a matching grant from the Woodsmen of America, and a lot of work by parents and children.

The new cement courts will replace the current asphalt courts that have buckled with age and have weeds growing in cracks.

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Julia Randall Elementary School past-PTO president Kristen Wade presents a letter of appreciation to Tonto Apache members Shawn Morgan, Ivan Smith, Kenny Davis, Lanell Hooke and Louise Lopez. The tribe donated $10,000 to help construct a new basketball court at the school.

JRE principal Ardyth Potter is among those happy to see the old courts fall by the wayside.

"The new courts will provide a much safer environment in which to play," she said.

The courts, which will use the existing goals, are expected to be built during the school district's fall break Oct. 4 through Oct. 15.

The move to build new courts at the school was spearheaded by the school's PTO past president Kristen Wade and fellow PTO officers Joanne Bessler, Carol Morris, Nancy Satterfield and Mary Wolf. PTO member Mary McMullen helped write the proposal, Wade said.

The PTO group was able to earn money for the cause at the school's annual spring flight, a cookie dough sale and an enchilada dinner.

The $3,000 the PTO earned was matched by a Woodsman of America grant.

When the courts are finished, the fences surrounding them will remain, but the JRE student council could possibly design murals on the north wall to make it more eye-appealing, Wade said.

At a morning ceremony July 12 on the JRE courts, Wade and fellow PTO members thanked the Tonto Apache Council for their donation.

All of the council members --hairman Ivan Smith, Lanell Hooke, Shawn Morgan, Louise Lopez and Kenny Davis -- were once students at the school.

The courts represent another step in the PTO's school grounds improvement plan that began two years ago with the revamping of the upper playgrounds at JRE.

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