By Bernadette McCune
Triplicate staff writer
Teachers, parents, children and volunteers alike joined together yesterday in a united effort to educate local students by painting a large-scale map of the United States on the playground of Mary Peacock Elementary School.
The artistic adventure began at 8:30 a.m. and included the labor of about seven adults and 14 children, all of which were still hard at work eight hours later. Production has yet to begin on a complete map of the world.
Mary Peacock students, ranging from 4-year-old preschoolers to sixth-graders, held a three-month penny drive last winter in order to provide funds for the project. Those funds covered purchases of stencils, paints and other art supplies.
The penny drive had been expected to raise about $300 and instead generated over $1,000 ¬ó all in little copper coins. The extra funds were used to buy a copyright contract which will allow the school to view an unlimited amount of films in the classrooms, as well as at a "free movie night" the school provides for the students every few months.
Volunteer efforts from organizations outside of the school were also involved. The Crescent Fire Protection District provided the free service of washing down the cement playground and Elk Valley Casino gave the school free use of a coin-counting machine for the penny drive.
Thomas Trevino, a sixth-grader at Mary Peacock, and his parents Tom and Gloria Trevino spent the entire day stenciling and painting on the playground.
"Painting these maps is important to the kids, and to be here as parent-volunteers for support, and to show we care about what our kids do," is also important, said Tom Trevino. "The more you provide for children, the more they learn."
The United States map will be a valuable educational tool, as they display scale versions of all 50 states. Many of the volunteering children (and adults) didn't realize that per square mile, it would take over four California-sized states to cover the same land mass as the state of Alaska, or that the state of Rhode Island is only slightly bigger than the entire county of Del Norte.
Pennye Quick, president of the Parent Teachers Student Organization, hopes the artwork will be a great surprise for all the students returning to school next week, and that they will be able to play educational games like "find the states" on the their newly decorated playground.
The project is expected to be finished within a few days.