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Redbirds celebrate opening of The Best Nest

Child going down a slide
Francesca Callum tests out the slide on Dickinson’s new playground. Although she’s not a student at Dickinson yet, she is one of many future students who will benefit from the hard work of the students who raised money for the new equipment. Janelle Fisher photo

By Janelle Fisher

City Pages Editor

DE PERE – Students at Dickinson Elementary are reaping the benefits of their Read-A-Thon, which took place in March, as the funds they raised has allowed for the replacement of Dickinson’s more than 30-year-old playground.

Over the course of two and a half weeks, students at Dickson read more than 211,000 minutes, raising more than $28,000 for the playground project.

Children playing
After the ribbon was cut on Sunday, Sept. 24, Dickinson’s new playground was officially open for play.

Through that fundraising event, coupled with corporate sponsorships and private donations, a new playground was able to be constructed at Dickinson Elementary, specifically tailored to meet the needs and wants of Dickinson students.

One anonymous donor contributed $25,000 to the project, earning themselves the naming rights to the playground, but turned those rights back over to the school.

After a selection process, last year’s fourth graders settled on The Best Nest as the name for the new playground — a nod to De Pere’s mascot, the Redbird.

Many of those former fourth graders were present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Best Nest on Sunday, Sept. 24, officially opening the playground to present and future students of Dickinson Elementary to enjoy.

Dickinson Elementary School Principal Luke Herlache commended the students, who have since graduated from Dickinson, for their efforts in supporting the project which would benefit students for years to come.

“They worked so hard in the Read-A-Thon just to make Dickinson a great place for them and for others,” he said. “They knew that their efforts were going to go towards others. They knew they were going to be at Fox or other fifth-grade schools, but they did it anyway. They did it for their little brothers or sisters or their neighbors or their cousins or people they didn’t even know, just to help make Dickinson a great place.”

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