Climbing the walls at school

Desert Sun Academy's Coach Keith Perrin finishes up attaching holds to the climbing wall while Maja Aganius (left) and Becka Korn "test" the installation.

Story and photos by Daniel Friedman

Once the hot weather moves in, there isn’t much to do at recess or in PE class at school except sit in the classroom and read, or broil on the playground. That was Becka Korn’s dilemma. At her previous school there was a climbing wall and she wanted one at Desert Sun Academy, where she is a third-grader.

She decided to raise money to get one for the school. She had a cookie and lemonade stand that raised a small amount. At the suggestion of a her brother’s friend, she wrote to Clif Barand they sent her 300 bars to sell in a fundraiser. Becka enlisted fellow third-grader Maja Agranius to do some marketing, carrying a sign to induce parents picking up and dropping off kids to buy a Clif Bar, and they quickly sold all 300 bars.

Becka Korn (left) and Maja Agranius

Becka sent Clif Bar a picture of her buried in the bars and they sent back a check for $1,000 to help fund the project. The Desert Sun PTO put up the rest of the $3,800.

Desert Sun Academy physical education teacher Keith Perrin will introduce the climbing wall to the students for the rest of this school year and then incorporate it into the PE curriculum for all grades next school year. One of the activities, Climb Across America by Everlast Climbing Industries, the manufacturer of the wall, integrates geography with climbing activities.

The five 4×8 ft. panels are outfitted with various hand and foot holds that can be traversed horizontally like an obstacle course, or vertically like a traditional climbing wall. With the limited height, there is little danger of injury from a fall onto the mats at the base of the wall.

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