0912_dnr_Ottobine Grant_1

Todd Johnson, principal at Ottobine Elementary School, talks to students about banking following the presentation of a $3,000 grant from United Bank to go toward the school’s playground.

OTTOBINE — It’s been nearly 20 years since Ottobine Elementary School purchased any new playground equipment or expanded on what is now a 30-year-old playground.

The small, community school has passionate community support, but to raise the money needed to really get the playground where it should be would be tough, said Principal Todd Johnson.

The school did get a huge boost from the help of Turner Ashby High School students, who over spring break this past school year replaced many of the old wooden boards that make up the playground.

But thanks to a $3,000 grant from United Bank, they’ll be able to continue renovations and expand the existing playground.

Wilma Knight’s great-niece is a student at Ottobine and, through third grade teacher Chevie Cale, arranged a lesson on economics and saving money last year that qualified the school to be eligible for the grant money.

“Students are so used to seeing plastic being used that they don’t often see physical money,” Cale said of students’ experience seeing their parents using debit and credit cards, which is what prompted her to want to teach students about money and saving money.

“It was fun. It was good for the kids,” Cale said.

Ottobine was then entered into a drawing, along with a number of other schools, and was chosen to receive $3,000. Knight and two additional United Bank employees were at Ottobine on Thursday to present a check to the school.

Whispers of “we just got $3,000” echoed in the hallways after the check presentation.

Knight asked the students, prior to revealing the check, how much they thought it was for.

“It only took them three guesses to get it right on the nose,” Knight said.

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272 or mwilliams@dnronline.com. Follow Megan on Twitter @DNR_Learn

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