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Edgerton Elementary's Color-a-thon May 30 raised over $20,000 for new playground equipment at the school. Tiffany Stoiber/Now Media Group

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HALES CORNERS - Edgerton Elementary raised more than $20,000 for new playground equipment through their Color-a-thon Tuesday, May 30.  

With dreary skies postponing the original event, the fundraiser still ended up being bright and beautiful. Around 450 students—in addition to many parents, family members, and staff—raced through clouds of color in the 1.2 mile track along the school's grounds and Schoetz Park.

"The Color-a-thon exceeded my expectations," said principal Chris D'Acquisto. "The parent support for the fundraiser was amazing and the volunteer organizers worked hand-in-hand with our staff."

Fun for a cause

Edgerton's PTO officially organized the event, which raised money by students getting pledges or donations in the days before during a 20-day "Blast Week." During that time, the school had daily incentives like popsicles and pizza parties to get students to participate with their class. The school also offered individual prizes like keychains or "color packs" to use during the race.  

The more money the students earned, the more color packs they could use at the end of the race, which altogether made a giant cloud of color.  

However, no matter how much a student earned in pledges, they still got to participate.  

"(Everyone) was able to run and experience the color fun regardless of the money raised," said PTO member Becky Effertz. 

In the spirit of all-inclusive fun, the school will use the money from the Color Run to purchase more all-inclusive playground equipment, the third phase in their playground expansion plan.

Inclusive playground

"We planned additions to our existing playground that would be fun for all students, but also sensory friendly (for students with autism) and accessible for students with handicap that prohibited them from using and enjoying some of the playground," explained D'Acquisto.

A few years ago, the school broke the plan down into three phases, since each phase costs between $20,000 - $25,000. Now, they're on phase three, which is planned to add outdoor musical equipment and a sensory play center.

The sensory play center features different textures, shapes and activity panels to stimulate the senses. While this can be especially helpful for students with autism or sensory processing disorders, they are fun for everyone, and can encourage cooperative play.   

Since the playground equipment the school has already installed is so popular, D'Acquisto imagines the new equipment will be just as beloved.  

"Students love the new playground equipment that has already been purchased and installed and the equipment gets lots of use, not only from our students, but also the community surrounding our school," D'Acquisto said. "I know that they would love the new additions that are in the planning phase because the equipment is interactive and would be accessible for all of our students."

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