Schools notebook // Neighbors raising funds for Kenwood school project

Neighbors raising funds for Kenwood school project

KENWOOD — After three years of planning and negotiations, supporters of an environmental improvement project at Kenwood Community School begin their final fundraising push in April.

The project would replace the existing retaining wall and chain link fence on the south side of the playground with shade trees and a new wall topped with an aluminum, picket-style fence. Plans call for limestone benches along the sidewalk and the removal of some asphalt to improve drainage at the site, among other improvements.

The estimated cost of the project is $36,000.

The Kenwood Isles Area Association (KIAA) recently approved $10,000 in matching funds for the project. Other nearby neighborhood organizations were considering donations in March, as well.

Kenwood resident Sanja deGarmo said she hoped to raise $20,000–$25,000 in individual donations from alumni, the school’s current families and neighborhood residents.

A former Kenwood Parent Teacher Association president, deGarmo first proposed the project in early 2006. Her children have since moved on from the school, but deGarmo continued to push for the playground improvements.

She said the project would improve visibility at the corner of Penn Avenue South and West 21st Street, as well as reduce storm water runoff by replacing some of the asphalt playground with soil.

deGarmo will host a fundraising party 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. April 17 at Isles Market & Deli, 2115 W. 21st St., across the street from the school. Light refreshments will be available for a $5 donation at the door.

Donors can buy one of the bricks that will make up a column at the southwest corner of the school. The names of donors and their families will be engraved on the bricks.

For more information or to make a donation, contact deGarmo at or 377-0380.

“My family is moving to New Mexico this summer, so this is my swan song,” deGarmo said. “… I would really like to see it come to fruition before I leave."


Southwest senior on champion team

LINDEN HILLS — Southwest High School Senior Chuck Aoki was a member of the Courage Center Jr. Rolling Timberwolves wheelchair basketball team that won its second consecutive national championship March 21.

The Jr. Rolling Timberwolves defeated the San Diego Hammer 51–50 to win a National Wheelchair Basketball Association title in the varsity division. The Jr. Rolling Timberwolves went 5–0 in the NWBA tournament in Denver.

Aoki was named to the second team, all-tournament.

In December, Aoki was the youngest player to earn a spot on the 2009 USA Wheelchair Rugby National Team. He was the subject of a Southwest Journal profile in January.


Sandra Cisneros coming to Washburn

TANGLETOWN — Tickets were still available in late March for author Sandra Cisenros’ April appearance at Washburn High School, 201 W. 49th St.

Washburn is hosting a special edition of the Talking Volumes series marking the 25th anniversary of the publication of Cisneros’ novella “The House on Mango Street,” a staple in middle and high school English classes. Minnesota Public Radio host Kerri Miller will talk with Cisneros about the novella, a Latina girl’s coming-of-age story set in Chicago.

The event is 7 p.m. April 21. Tickets are $20, and are available through Ticketmaster or at the Fitzgerald Theater box office, (651) 290-1221.

The Talking Volumes reading series is a collaboration between MPR, the Star Tribune and the Loft Literary Center.