Pit Crew donates funds to elementary PE departments

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By ANTHONY FLORES

The Panther Pit Crew, a local nonprofit, is helping Liberty Hill ISD with physical education needs by providing almost $6,000 in equipment to all four elementary schools in the district.

“We were asked if we would be able to give money or equipment to the PE department to help with all the new procedures for COVID,” said Panther Pit Crew’s John Cleary. “It worked out well where we were able to do it, where other times, we might not be able to do it.”

Liberty Hill Elementary PE coach Kasey Faurie reached out to the nonprofit, aware of their history of helping the district with supplies and funds.

“I knew they would be interested in helping us because these materials and this equipment will touch every elementary kid in Liberty Hill,” said Faurie. “It’s not just one small group. It’s Kindergarten through 4th grade.”

The funds came from two events the Pit Crew held this year.

“We raised funds multiple ways,” said Cleary. “We had a golf tournament recently where we raised about $10,000 for our group. We had a raffle this year as well. Those were the two main things to raise money.”

The Pit Crew’s mission is aiding the school district’s students and staff when the need arises. The donated equipment is divided amongst the district’s four elementary schools.

“I think the Pit Crew is here to help build community spirit and to help out the schools where we can,” said Cleary. “It’s about $6,000 worth of goods that I think we were able to provide. I think it’s about $1,500 per campus. It’s four elementary schools we’ll be providing to.”

Over the summer, the PE coaches in the district met and realized the need for new equipment to adjust to new COVID procedures.

“We were talking about the heat index and how we were going to be outside as much as possible so the kids didn’t have to wear masks and could honor social distancing,” said Faurie. “We knew that we would need shade, and we would need fans, water, a way to clean our equipment, and we would need a way to tell them where to stand. We needed extra recess equipment so each teacher could have their own, and kids wouldn’t be cross-contaminating.”

With the smallest gyms in th elementary schools, and almost 400 students returning for the school year, PE will be exclusively outside. Because of the Texas heat, measures must be taken to keep kids cool.

“The most important thing for us was shade because not all campuses have shade where PE will be held, and we need to let the kids cool down before we put their masks on,” said Faurie. “We have backpack sprayers to mist the kids when it’s hot, so that’ll be fun for them. The fan will be used campus-wide to blow that breeze as kids go back inside.”

Being outside allows the students to adhere to social distancing rules, minimizing COVID infection risks.

“For social distancing, we needed something we could clean easily and pick up easily so the kids could know where to stand,” said Faurie. “So, the puzzle mats will be their home spot where they stand every day. The speaker system is huge, being outside in the wind, and with kids being separated, we want to play music and have the microphone so everyone can hear us.”

With the new equipment, coaches will provide students with a safe and comfortable PE experience.

“This is the future of Liberty Hill. So, if we can make them work in a comfortable and enjoyable environment because PE is the most fun part of the day, then we’re doing our job,” said Faurie.

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