Kids raise funds for playhouse

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More than 125 students attended the official opening of the Mrs. Zabst’s Friendship Cottage, and the school dedicated the cottage to Karen Zabst, a kindergarten teacher battling pancreatic cancer. (Photo by Anna Skinner)
More than 125 students attended the official opening of the Mrs. Zabst’s Friendship Cottage, and the school dedicated the cottage to Karen Zabst, a kindergarten teacher battling pancreatic cancer. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

By Anna Skinner

Oak Trace Elementary School staff and students recently combined efforts to raise money for the Mrs. Zabst’s Friendship Cottage to be built in the kindergarten playground in honor of Karen Zabst, an OTES teacher battling pancreatic cancer.

T-shirts, bookmarks and wristbands were sold. During the third-grade business chapter, students created lemonade stands and root-beer floats to sell to fellow students and parents. The proceeds from the annual Jar Wars – a competition where all grades donate spare change – went to the playhouse’s construction.

Zabst has been an OTES teacher for 16 years and is currently on medical leave from the school.

“Mrs. Zabst loves gardening and the outdoors, and they wanted to honor her with the playhouse,” PTO President Jena Collinsworth said. “Plus it helps with playtime, which she is big on, too.”

On May 24, more than 125 kids, along with various staff, attended the official opening of the kindergarten playhouse. The children in attendance had been students of Zabst or were currently in her class. Gorman and Bunch Orthodontics and Gigi’s Cupcakes provided snacks for the children.

“We’re out here today to dedicate this playhouse to Mrs. Zabst, one of the best teachers I’ve ever worked with,” Principal Robin Lynch said. “She’s always wanted to make sure when kindergarteners came to this school, they had a chance to play. Sometimes we get caught up in test scores, but even as adults, it is important to play.”

Zabst watched from the parking lot, where she was too weak to get out of her car.

“This is something that boys and girls for years can come play in,” Lynch said.

Students and staff raised $5,500 for the playhouse.

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