Climbing wall is new activity at Samuel Staples Elementary School

Alexandra Mazzaralli, a fifth-grader, demonstrates her climbing skills on the new traverse climbing wall in the Samuel Staples Elementary School gym. — Susan Hunter photo

A new traverse climbing wall has found a home in Samuel Staples Elementary School.

New students touring the school recently took one look at the wall and started climbing on it, said Kim Fox Santora, school principal.

And other students, including fifth-grader Alexandra Mazzaralli, a competitive rock climber, also welcome the new addition to the gym.

“I was excited,” Alexandra said, when she heard about the new apparatus.

Students climb the wall horizontally, not vertically, and are never more than a few feet off the floor.

They climb using a variety of handholds, including jugs and crimps, said Alexandra, who climbs at Rock Climb Fairfield and has participated in climbing wall activities there since she was eight years old.

The Staples traverse wall was a PTA initiative, and students chose the wall over a loom for the art room during the annual Kids Choice vote.

When parents voted on the town budget in May, the students voted at a Spring Fling party run by the PTA on the Little League fields, said Celeste DeAngelis, a 2016-17 PTA co-president.

“We offer them two things they can choose from,” DeAngelis said, and they cast their votes by dropping ballot slips into a box.

Parents painted a colorful whale-hopscotch game on a Staples School playground.

The climbing wall cost about $2,000 and includes four panels covered with the colorful handholds.

“We thought it would be a really fun addition to physical education,” DeAngelis said, and would offer “a great opportunity for kids who have a difficult time with team sports.”

The PTA opted to spend more for a four-panel wall than they had budgeted for two panels.

“We thought the benefits to students would be worth the extra cost,” said Sam Aghdasi, PTA co-president. “It appealed to so many of the…

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