Vidalia fifth-grader sees need at school; takes action
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015
VIDALIA — Joelee Bonnette rarely plays wall ball, but that didn’t stop the Vidalia Upper Elementary fifth-grade student from putting a smile on the face of her peers.
Bonnette, 9, sought help from the community and her family to remove and replace a worn out wall that students play ball on at Vidalia Upper Elementary in May.
Wall ball, which is a game that requires the ball to be hit to the floor before hitting the wall, is a favorite activity for students during recess, said P.E. teacher Irene Young.
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“It all started with Joelee seeing a need for her schoolmates,” Young said. “She has always been a caring student.”
Bonnette said her biggest motivation was the drive to see everyone happy.
“A lot of kids here play wall ball and I figured it was fair to replace the old wall,” Bonnette said.
Keeping in mind what she learned in P.E., Bonnette knows the importance of being active.
“If kids play wall ball, they can get healthier,” Bonnette said.
Young said children could gain a particular set of skills by playing outside.
“A lot of kids come to me and they can’t catch a ball, nor can they throw,” Young said. “In the third-grade unit, we teach throwing skills, and the new wall will give them a chance to practice at recess.”
Emilie Evans, 10, who is a fifth-grade student at Vidalia Upper Elementary, and Ethan Evans, 12, who is a eighth-grade student at the school, worked diligently with others to complete the project by being a part of a garage sale to raise money for materials at Vidalia Market earlier this year.
Evans and her mother, Jessica Evans, would join others to help paint the wall ball once it was completed.
“I like trying to catch the ball and throw it,” Evans said. “That’s why we are happy to have a new wall ball.”
The Bonnette and Evans family also repainted basketball backboards, foursquare courts and painted in a new hopscotch court on the playground.
“I was so touched,” Young said. “I never had a child, who looked at her schoolyard, and saw a need.”