Maj. Lionel Taylor, a Fort Bragg Soldier, said he wants to always find an opportunity to be involved in his son, Jean Claude’s education.
Lionel showed up at Stoney Point Recreation Center, April 24, to support Jean Claude, 9, as he and other students were the recipients of a rigamajig unveiling. Rigamajig is a collection of interchangeable wooden planks, wheels and pulleys that allows children to build structures using their imaginations.
Rigamajig was donated to Stoney Point Elementary School by a grant obtained from the Military Child Education Coalition, said Alana Nix, executive director of federal programs at Cumberland County Schools. The recreation center was selected for the unveiling because it is connected to SPES and is accessible to patrons of the center, she said. April 24 was chosen because it falls within the “Week of Play,” from April 24 to 28.
“You have to demonstrate, through the grant, how the equipment will be used and incorporate play in the community,” said Nix, who was works to secure grants and was notified of the school’s selection in late March. With a previous grant, Nix said she was able to bring military student transition consultants to schools in the district.
The MSTZs are an important addition because CCS, according to its website, has more than 13,500 military/federally-connected students and obtains 3.8 percent of its more than $400,000 operating budget (capital outlay and child nutrition not included) from competitive grants.
“The opportunities are numerous in order for us to provide services for our students and their Families,” Nix explained.
Rigamajig was unveiled through a partnership with The CarMax Foundation and KaBOOM, both dedicated to ensuring youth engagement in active play.
Community outreach, as well as getting students active in play time to achieve a work/play balance in life is important to CarMax, said Daniel Wardlow, a nine-year Army veteran and manager of its Fayetteville location on McPherson Church Road.
Rigamajig “will be a wonderful way to make education fun for them (students) as they continue to grow,” said Peggy Hall, Cumberland County school board representative, who attended the unveiling. Forty-seven percent of children at SPES are military-connected — they are either the children of active-duty military or of veterans, she said.
Jean Claude seemed to like rigamajig.
“It’s cool because you can move it and stuff,” said the youngster, who added that he appreciated his father’s visit. “He took time off his work to come.”
Jace Mendoza, 8, also liked rigamajig.
“It’s like fun because you get to build whatever thing you want. It’s awesome,” he said.
Lindsay Stubenvoll and Caliyah Martin, both 9, and Ayla Eppers, 8, used the pulleys, wheels and planks to build a car.
Martin said, “It’s super fun and you can just let your creativity fly.”