Meredith Hill climbing wall inches closer


The Mirror

Students at Meredith Hill Elementary School have climbed enough monkey bars.

Now they’ve got their eyes on a rock-climbing wall, and they’re not giving up until they’ve raised enough money to get it.

Nearly 40 people from 18 families volunteered at a car wash and garage sale Saturday to raise funds for the wall.

The group raised $1,500, almost half of its goal.

Parents, students, teachers, staff members and even the principal arrived first thing in the morning dressed in shorts and T-shirts, ready to work.

“This is kind of a cool thing because they’ve been out of school for a couple weeks and we’re getting them all back together,” said health and fitness teacher T.J. Navilio.

The commitment level from the community and PTA members is strong, Navilio said.

“I had moms here at 6:30 this morning,” he said.

That’s more than Navilio could say for himself. He slept through his alarm that morning, he admitted. A few of the moms were still teasing him about it at noon Saturday.

There is a strong sense of community in the neighborhood that Meredith Hill draws its students from, Navilio said. It’s all housing, no apartments and the turnover rate for teachers at the school is low.

Parents are incredibly active in the school, Navilio explained as he stood dripping wet with a hose in his hand.

Those parents are equally appreciative of the teachers. The two groups couldn’t quit congratulating each other on their support.

“This is a great school community,” said Kathy Miller, a PTA member. “We’ve had a lot of teachers today helping. Every time we do a fundraiser or a family event, the staff is really involved with it.”

Besides being a fun activity, the climbing wall will help build muscular strength, teach kids to work as a team and build trust, Navilio said.

The wall will be used in health and fitness classes as well as after-school programs such as the Boy Scouts and Campfire Girls. During hours when there is no supervision, the wall will be covered and locked.

Because the wall will be no more than 10 feet high and surrounded by matting, it won’t be dangerous, Navilio said. Kids will climb across the wall rather than up it.

The total cost for the wall is $6,000 if the school can find parents to help install it.

Through various fundraisers, the school has raised $4,100 so far, Miller said.

The PTA hopes to raise the rest of the money at another car wash and garage sale on Aug. 5 at the school.

“Then we can get it in this year. That is our really big goal,” Miller said.

Dixie Thacker and her sons Gabe, 12, and Jacob, 7, probably won’t mind spending another summer Saturday washing cars.

“That’s all it took to get them down here is to talk about the climbing wall,” Thacker said.

“You talk about the climbing wall and they will do anything to help out.”

Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565

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