August 26, 2008

Dad Helps Fix Up Preschool Grounds

By Journal Staff Report

Shining Stars Preschool students have more to do when they go outside thanks to the father of one of its students.

Mike Raybourn, project manager at Western Summit, donated time and materials and recruited several volunteers to help him install outdoor equipment for the Rio Rancho school's students. Western Summit is an environmental contractor that builds water and wastewater systems. Raybourn, who has a child at the school, worked with principal Suzanne Harper to design a "secret garden" for students in four planters throughout the campus. Harper wanted to create an environment where students could play at recess and teachers could have story or snack time. The total cost of the project was $2,000 and took more than 300 man hours to complete. Western Summit paid for the project and its employees donated the labor necessary to complete it. The project was started in May and completed earlier this month. The school grounds now have five concrete tables with six stools each. There is a bench and stairs leading into each planter. The tables are painted red, brown and green with matching stools.

Raybourn recruited seven coworkers to complete the project: Lester Smith, Jeremy Kellar, Justin Dreitzler, Serjio Delira, Tristan Botcher, Justin Wilson and division manager Boyd Dunham. According to a news release from the school, some of the volunteers drove more than an hour for four weekends to help the school.

"We are happy to be able to use our construction knowledge and skills to help the children at the preschool," Raybourn is quoted as saying in the release.

The company is continuing to help the school by adding traffic signs to the parking lot.

"In construction, safety is our number one priority," Raybourn said in the news release. "We are excited to extend our commitment to safety to the preschool by helping them keep the children safe." Shining Stars is a public preschool the district opened to serve special needs children in hopes that some of them will be able to enroll in regular education classrooms by the time they start kindergarten. Regular education students also attend Shinning Stars and are role models for the other students.

The school is off Northern on the old Ernest Stapleton Elementary campus.

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