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Volunteers Rebuild Seaside Heights, N.J. Playground Wrecked By Sandy

Local School District Pays For All Supplies With Private Donations

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey community hit hard by Superstorm Sandy is hoping for a passing grade just in time for the new school year.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported Tuesday, volunteers, including teachers and parents, spent the day repairing the playground at the Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School in Seaside Height. The playground was destroyed by the hurricane.

The volunteers shoveled dirt, planted trees, put together play equipment, and built a new outdoor stage.

“To be able to show this to the children and how beautiful this is going to turn out, and to have a beautiful Shakespearean amphitheater and playground – it’s going to just be awesome,” said volunteer Michelle Beauregard.

Students at school were pushed out of their classrooms when the hurricane ripped through the Tri-State Area. Following the storm, the playground was covered with mounds of trash.

Students such as Ann Dickerson, 8, were able to help design the play area.

“I can’t wait until it’s done building, because I have my park theme,” Ann said. “I picked the curly slide, and you have to climb up a rock wall to get to curly slide and land on a sand table.”

Dickerson and other students will be back in school and in the playground next week. They spent the spring at the local high school.

“It’s been a little upsetting because I missed my school, my friends,” Ann said.

The district was able to buy all of the supplies for the school through private donations. In fact, a local dance company helped raise $18,000.

“The dance group is a group of kids who range for 8 to 20 years old – so it’s the age of the kids they are helping, which just is incredible,” said Sarah Gulping, assistant director of the Gotta Dance School.

For parents who send their children to the school, it has been an uphill battle as well. Many were flooded out of their homes.

“It’s been tough at times, easier at times; it’s nice to have some of their friends coming back home to play with them,” said parent Marc Boucher. “It’s tough, but you have to stand up, stick your chin out, your chest up, and move on.”

Residents said if they can build a playground in just a day and rise above Sandy, they can do just about anything.

The plan to redesign the playground started 10 days ago with companies such as Kaboom, Snapple and Dr. Pepper donating the money. Americorps brought in volunteers.

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