New Playground Opens At Lincoln ElementaryPreparing to cut the ribbon at the opening of the new playground at Lincoln Elementary School are (l to r): Principal Melissa Walley, Board Members Mary Joan Dickson and James Sakelaris, 4th grader Emmi Doty, Kindergartener Mason Burdan, 5th grader Nick Miedema, Board Member Dennis Wilkening, 3rd grader Roha Zaidi, 1st grader Dillon Twiddy, 2nd Grader Adeline McMahon and Board Member Mary Pat Burkel. Nick Miedema did the ribbon cutting honors.
Photo 1 - Students at Lincoln Elementary requested more slides for their new playground, and they got them! Emmi Doty takes the first ride on one of the many slides. Photo 2 - Students test their upper arm strength on the new monkey bars. They aren't afraid to fall on the new soft rubber surface, the #1 request of students!
Students, staff, Board Members, and parents were all on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony at Lincoln Elementary to celebrate the opening of the new state-of-the art playground. The playground is the centerpiece of an improvement project at the school that also included parking, pavement, and basketball court upgrades.
Principal Melissa Walley addressed the student body before the ribbon was cut telling the students; “Today is a good day…kids like to play and play gives kids a chance to practice what they’re learning. A man named Mr. Rogers said that and if you don’t know who that is you have to ‘Google’ him, because he’s a good guy. We do a lot of learning about things like respect, honesty, compassion, being fair and being responsible. All of those are things you learn on a playground and we now have an awesome playground.”Five students, one representing each grade level at Lincoln, helped cut the ribbon with Walley and Board Members; Mary Pat Burkel, Mary Joan Dickson, James Sakelaris and Dennis Wilkening. The students were allowed to cut the ribbon a second time with Hanover Superintendent of Schools Tom Taylor. All of the students were excited about the bright red climbing apparatus that twists and turns its way up to a tower. “I think it’s the best part,” said 5th grader Nick Miedema . His fellow students, Dillon Twiddy (1st Grade), Adeline McMahon (2nd Grade), Roha Zaidi (3rd Grade), and Emmi Doty (4th Grade) were quick to agree that the wide variety of activities available on the playground were all “awesome.” Kindergarten student Mason Burdan quickly ran to try out the swinging poles with a little help from Board Member Dennis Wilkening. All of the equipment is located on a solid rubber surface designed to prevent injuries from falls up to eight feet.
Architect James Maciejewski of JMA Architects was on hand to celebrate the completion of the playground project. Maciejewski was pleased with the student’s enthusiasm and noted wistfully that he has two children in Hanover schools, “but they’re older now and out of elementary school.”
The Lincoln Elementary playground project will soon be followed by the currently in process playground project at Jane Ball Elementary. Both schools will have the very best in playground equipment available to students this year and for many years to come.
Getting to Know Principal Walley
Melissa Walley brought many years of teaching experience to Lincoln Elementary when she first arrived as Assistant Principal in August of 2012. Mrs. Walley previously taught at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Chicago, as well as serving the School City of Hobart for thirteen years. She is a native of Crown Point and continues to reside in her hometown with husband Dennis and two daughters, Hannah and Ella.
Mrs. Walley earned an Associate’s Degree in Early Education, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Purdue University Calumet. “I believe that one of the most important and exciting things an educator can do is to keep learning,” says Walley.
She is an avid reader and brings her love of reading and learning to all of the students at Lincoln Elementary School. “I want the very best for Lincoln Students. I believe that all children can achieve success with appropriate support, and should always feel successful as they learn and grow.” Mrs. Walley’s distinctive approach to leading and learning has brought unique opportunities to Lincoln students where dogs teach manners, gorillas encourage kindness and smiles are found in hallways and classrooms. You can follow the adventures of Mrs. Walley and her students on Facebook!