Schools raise more than $6k for Sandy Hook playground coming to city
Schools raise more than $6k for Sandy Hook playground coming to city
Posted on 06/11/2014
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WEST HAVEN, June 9, 2014 — West Haven Public School students, families and staff raised $6,494 in support of the playground that will soon be constructed in West Haven to honor Charlotte Bacon, one of the children who died in the Sandy Hook tragedy.

The playground is one of 26 being built through an initiative called “The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play” to honor those who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. A groundbreaking will be held on June 13 at Sea Bluff Beach, where the living memorial is being built, while a ribbon cutting is scheduled for June 15.

Money raised for the project will not only help to build West Haven’s playground, but will also go toward the next playground built by the Where Angels Play Foundation in a pay-it-forward fashion.

At elementary schools, paper clouds were sold in a fundraiser to students and staff, who wrote their names on the clouds and displayed them in their schools. Some, like Forest Elementary School student Michelle Valencia, contributed more than the $1 suggested donation. Michelle, a 9-year-old student in LeeAnn Luzietti’s fourth-grade class, decided to donate $100 of her own money.

“My parents always taught me if I have enough, I should donate to other people,” she said.

Carrigan Intermediate School, Bailey Middle School and West Haven High School sold bracelets in school and at special events.

Bailey also held additional fundraisers, including a raffle for a chance to shave a teacher’s head during a homeroom period. Students David O'Brien, Meg Paterson, Aitza Perez, Ogulcan Guney, Jared Thayer, Kayla Manion, Rua Osman and Julie Pinto won the opportunity to shave the heads of eight male teachers:  James Mastriano, Sean Griffin, Gene Sullivan, Abdul Choudhry, Jared Stevens, Greg Heudorfer, Patrick Toole and Joseph Pisano, who had been growing his mane for months.

But it wasn’t just the guys getting a makeover for a good cause. Bailey teacher Sherry “Mitch” Mitchell pledged to dye her hair pink (Charlotte Bacon’s favorite color) if students raised at least $1,000.

“The kids were excited about it. It was something meaningful to them, and some of them are going to go to the build on Friday,” said Mitchell, who showed up to the hair-shaving session with a neon pink ’do.

Bailey teacher Dina Jones, who helped plan the head-shaving fundraiser with Mitchell, Sheila Krajcir and Stacy Blanco, said the kids were enthusiastic about helping out because the collection impacted their own city.

“They were raising money for something in their community, not an organization they haven’t heard of before or that won’t affect them,” Jones said. “This playground will be in their own backyard, and they will see the results of their effort.”

Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114;