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Haakon Education Association celebrity auction for playground items a success

Going, going, gone ... Mick Trask helped auction the Haakon Education Association items that had been donated by distant celebrities and local entities. The auction results of $3,393 were added to the previous donations to pay the $12,665 cost of the additional elementary playground equipment. Some equipment has already been donated and installed.

The Haakon Education Asso-ciation celebrity-item auction to raise funds for playground equipment, held on Sunday, January 20th, brought in $3,393.

"HEA was very happy with the outcome of the auction," said HEA co-president Jessica Wheeler. "At the beginning of October, when I started asking celebrities to donate items for the auction, we needed about $7,000 more for the play system.

"During the time between October and January, the Philip High School Alumni donated a very generous $5,000, and, along with individual donations that were received and the money that was raised at the auction, we were able to pay off the large play system and purchase "The Rock-Wall Crawl Thru" for the kids. HEA also chose to order a four-way teeter-totter for the playground as their donation," said Wheeler.

The large play system is called "The Yellow Brick Road." BYO Playsystems, the company from which the system was ordered, gave HEA a five percent discount if the order was made by December 22nd, 2007. The total cost, including shipping after the discount, came to $11,896.25 instead of the original figure of $12,665.00."

"Installation will be taken care of by the school," said Wheeler. "Having a company representative assist may have been an option, but we have such talented people available to us in Philip, that we decided to save the cost and install the equipment through a volunteer effort."

The first pieces of equipment were installed by members of the from Horizons project in Philip, school staff and HEA members. These final pieces will be installed by the school sometime this spring when the ground thaws out.

"I am absolutely overwhelmed by the positive response that this community has shown toward completing this process," said Wheeler. "When I started with the idea of renovating the playground in late April of 2007, I had expected it to take probably two years to complete the purchase of the equipment. I wasn't even sure if we would be able to buy the large play system. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that approximately $30,000 would be donated.

"The school has done a wonderful job of providing the cement edging around the equipment and the pea gravel underneath the equipment. The students couldn't be happier and cannot wait until all of the rest of the pieces are installed.

The "Wall of Fame" to honor those who donated to the cause is a work in progress and will be installed on the playground this spring with the rest of the equipment. "We are still looking at a few different ideas of how to put it together, and are excited to see it as a finished product." said Wheeler.