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YORKTOWN, N.Y. ━ Jack Tuite,10, challenged Sen. Greg Ball to an impromptu monkey bar pull-up contest on the new playground at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School Tuesday morning.

Tuite claimed victory, although Ball may disagree. The fifth grader is one of 11 peer leaders, a group of fifth grade students that represent the student body for events like the ribbon cutting for the new playground.

“As principal of Benjamin Franklin School, I am pleased to announce that our two-year effort to build a new playground is now a reality,” Principal Patricia Mcilvenny-Moore said.

The playground opened the first week of school after a $75,000 state grant helped the PTA committee spearheading the effort reach its fundraising goal of $87,000. The committee was formed two years ago to expand the existing school playground, which consisted of a few swings and could only hold 75 students at a time. There are more than 600 students at Benjamin Franklin elementary, all of whom took part in the event Tuesday.

“I like how this one is a little bigger with more room than that one over there,” Samantha Spies, 9, said, referring to the smaller playground on the other side of the building.

Some, like Melody Rubino, were most excited about the swings, while others most enjoyed the slide and monkey bars.

“The whole thing is really, really good,” Peer Leader Kevin Kegin, 9, said. “I don’t think that there’s anything better or worse. It’s all great.”

Katlyn Cerrato, another per leader, agreed.

“I think that it’s really awesome, and it’s hard to choose what is the best part,” she said.

The new playground plays into the school’s “Play On” project, which promotes vigorous activity during recess and overall health.

“Two years ago, the Ben Franklin playground committee was formed having no idea what we were getting ourselves into,” Karen Brown, of the Benjamin Franklin Elementary Playground Committee, said. “We had no idea how much money had to be raised, but were determined to update the play equipment before our children graduated.” (ARTICLE)

About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →
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