Keeping students focused on school is not always easy when there is sunshine just beyond the window and summer vacation is but a few days away.
Ramstad Middle School educators had an unusual cure for spring fever Friday. Students strayed from their regular physical education class routines, getting their fresh air and exercise by working on a new outdoor volleyball court in front of the school.
The old volleyball court was comprised of grass, hardly in vogue anymore in the age of competitive beach volleyball. The solution? Dig a hole, haul in several semi-trailer loads of filled with sandbags and ask the students for some help.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN --
Ramstad Middle School students filled their new sand volleyball court, one sandbag at a time, on Friday. More than 2,000 sandbags were donated to the school.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN --
Ramstad Middle School students carried sandbags that were once meant for flood protection in Ward County.
"This provides them a great opportunity to come outside. They are having fun, having a blast," said Craig Eraas, Ramstad assistant principal. "We are doing something for the school and future students in the years to come. The nice thing about these facilities is that they can come here anytime and play."
Eraas was one of several educators helping to cut open sandbags so students could empty the contents onto the new court. The sandbags were some of the excess still in storage by Ward County Emergency Management. Ironically, many of the bags were likely filled by Magic City and Central Campus students in preparation for possible high water in the county this past spring. Earth Movers Inc. of Minot donated the manpower and equipment to deliver more than 2,000 sandbags to Ramstad.
"The county needed to get rid of the sandbags, we needed the sand and we've got the kids to help dump it," said Jim Tschetter, Ramstad principal. "We'll have sand volleyball instead of grass volleyball. I think it's pretty neat and the kids are getting it taken care of pretty fast."
Each PE class appeared to try to be outdoing the previous class. While hauling sandbags was certainly physical exercise, there was something about working in bare feet that kept the project well into the fun category for the students.
"They are working like beavers," said Eraas. "For them it's a treat. The kids did a great job on the garden spot on the other side of the school as well."
The garden spot is on the south side of the school. Sand was used to mix with garden topsoil that had become so compacted that growing plants was becoming difficult. The area is planted by students who also act as caretakers for the garden while observing the life cycle of various plants.
The volleyball court, which is available for public use throughout the summer, is located near the front loop of Ramstad school.