6th Grader Wins a Playground for McAuliffe Elementary School

Yesterday was a big day at McAuliffe... a ribbon was cut to dedicate their 2nd playground. Physically the biggest star was Roberto Garza, NFL Bears player, but the real star was Jose Flores, a 6th grade student who participated in the Nestle essay contest and won the school a playground for the older students. Jose Flores is now a 7th grader at Ames Middle School.
Attached is a photo and the essay.  Click to see NBC news clip:

McAuliffe Elementary School
1841 N. Springfield
Chicago, Illinois 60647
Principal: David Pino

“A Jugar!: Why My School Needs A New Playground”
By Jose Flores (6th Grade Student)

    When you hear the word America what comes to mind?  Some say justice or maybe even freedom, but to some children that attend McAuliffe, this is the land of the Big Mac and the home of the Whopper.  If you reward us with a playground, we would spend more time burning those fast food calories instead of gaining them sitting behind our desks.
    We, students as McAuliffe, are unfit because we don’t have a playground to burn off the calories of the greasy fast food.  We only have gym class once a week and due to not having a playground, we have no recess.  Once school is over, most of us just go home to play video games.  The McAuliffe neighborhood is highly occupied by gang violence so our parents tell us to go straight home because of the danger that lurks in the streets.  The only time we would get to play outdoors is in a McAuliffe safe zone, and if there is no playground, there is no recess, and without recess how are we going to exercise?
    When you look at the facts, you’ll see that we already have a playground, but it was made for children who are under eight years old.  Three-fourths of the school are rejected from the playground because of our age and size.  Playing on the little playground would hurt us by bumping our heads, or endangering the other children.  We could also accidentally dismantle it.  It is difficult to hear the little children laughing and playing outside because we are kids too and don’t get an opportunity to play.  We would love the opportunity to receive a playground that is appropriate for us, the older children of McAuliffe.
    We also need a playground because the older kids are the ones who take the ISAT tests.  We could go out and play before the ISAT so we can work to our full potential.  A playground will help McAuliffe students work to their full capabilities and every McAuliffe student has hidden potential.  Without a playground, we would not be working to our full power and if we don’t work to our full potential, President George Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act will deduct money from our school’s funds.
    We would love the opportunity to get a playground that accommodates the older students of McAuliffe.  There is an empty lot in the back of our school that would be perfect for a play area.  So when you decide whether or not you are going to give us a new playground, look at all the facts: we only get gym once a week, the only time we get to exercise is in school and the unfit kids that attend McAuliffe think that this is the land of the Big Mac and the home of the Whopper.