Washington Elementary School today held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its Centennial Rock Wall. The rock wall is a centennial gift to the school from the Washington School PTO. The rock wall is the first in the district.
Installed along one side of the school’s gymnasium, the rock wall measures 40 feet long by 8 feet high, and features 150-200 hand holds. It is a traverse wall, where most climbing is done horizontally. Vertical climbing is limited to a few feet. The wall will become an integral part of the physical education curriculum, complement wellness education efforts at the school, and be used during PTO-sponsored events such as the Youth Enrichment Session program and Family Fun Night.
The idea of installing a rock wall came in response to the removal of the climbing ropes from the elementary school gymnasiums. For more than a decade, reaching the top of the climbing rope and entering the “Rope Climbing Hall of Fame” had become a major challenge and source of pride for Washington School students. The rock wall provides a safe alternative, and still allows for the same great sense of accomplishment.
“We are so excited to unveil our Centennial rock wall and allow our students the opportunity to put it to good use! The rock wall will help students build confidence, understand the value of teamwork and feel empowered,” explains Lauren Banker, principal, Washington School.
The Centennial rock wall is the result of more than two years of planning, and the product of a joint effort of parents, teachers, local business and the community. “This wall is a prime example of how the Washington School community, as well as the larger local community, worked together to make this a reality,” says Mrs. Banker.
Funding for the rock wall came from private donations, the Washington School PTO, The Gravity Vault, Rockwerx, Merck and The Junior League of Summit. Fifth grade teacher, Mr. Daniel Garcia, also an instructor at The Gravity Vault, was instrumental in working with the PTO and staff to help design the wall, ensuring that it is safe for all students. Mr. Tom Bowers, the physical education teacher has worked diligently to incorporate the wall into the curriculum for students across all grade levels.
The ceremony marks the beginning of Washingtennial, a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the dedication of Washington School in Summit.
Washington School is one of five elementary schools in the Summit School District.
—Principal Lauren Banker