Walking Path now Open at Marston School

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Project Cost $32K, Community Raised Bulk of Money

By Lisa Tetrault-Zhe

Hampton Union, Tuesday, June 28, 2011

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Members of the Marston Community Walking Path committee, community donors and students of Marston School in front of the new sign at the entrance to the path.
[Lisa Tetrault-Zhe Photo]

HAMPTON -- Fresh air and exercise is literally a step away now for Marston School students, with the completion of the walking path around the school. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held recently to mark the event, which was nearly three years in the making.

The completed path, which runs a half-mile around the school, is constructed of a gravel base and bituminous asphalt surface, and measures 6 feet wide. It was designed to provide another opportunity for students to get some exercise.

"Here we are three years later," said principal Lois Costa. "The pathway is wonderful. It's getting a lot of use, particularly on weekends.

"This all started with a grant. We wanted to increase the health and well-being of our staff and our community. It was a big dream; we knew $4,000 wouldn't cover it. We came together as a school and as a community to bring this to fruition."

Final cost for the project was $32,000. The school received a grant of $4,000 from the Local Government Center in October 2008. A committee was established to raise additional funding, composed of Costa; former principal Dave O'Connor, who is now principal of Hampton Academy; assistant principal Dan Mitchell; physical education teacher Laurie Sullivan; former school nurse Janet Sanborn, who is now retired; teachers Jennifer Lansberry and Rosemary Sheehy; and parents Lynne Rademacher - and Pam Chase.

"We owe a huge thanks to Pam and Lynne," Costa said. "They kicked it up a notch and made the fund raising a focus. Thanks to them, we were able to complete the project with the support we needed."

Most of the funding came from the school community via fund-raising events, such as bingo night and bake sales. When Sanborn retired, she made a contribution from her retirement fund.

She asked students to walk the circumference of the school, in what would later become the half-mile walking path. For every student who did so, she donated $1, for a total of $400.

The Galley Hatch restaurant also made significant contributions, based on sales of frequent-diner cards. And there were donations of in-kind services from Tony Ciolfi, a Hampton resident and engineer, as well as Mark Olson of Landwright LLC.

"We're going to use it a lot," Lansberry said. "We are blessed that we have it. It's a great way to get the kids out and get them refreshed."

According to Mitchell, students are frequently using the path.

"Kids' opinions are often in their actions," Mitchell said. "They're using the walking path not just when they're told to use it, but by choice. Every day at recess, I see children who would normally just find a shady spot to sit instead of walking back and forth. Now, instead of just sitting, they're getting a bit of exercise."

Sullivan said she's been using the path for speed walking during physical education classes with the students.

Sheehy said she has alSo encouraged her students to take advantage of the path.

"The kids will take a quick 10-minute break during class," Sheehy said. "It gets them some exercise and fresh air, which helps them stay focused."

About 75 parents attended the June 9 ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was held the same night as the celebration of learning.

Rademacher said the months of work were well worth the effort.

"I am so proud and honored to live in a community where recreation and health are valued," Rademacher said. "We asked for donations and people in this town were without hesitation generous and rooted for the project the whole way. People saw value in building something together and putting their name on it -- legacies are a wonderful thing."

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