Family of elementary student who died helps school raise money for new playground

SYKESVILLE, Md. - There is a sense of giving in the air at Mechanicsville Elementary School in Sykesville.  The school needs two new playgrounds for Kindergartners and Upper Grades after 16 years of wear and tear.

Educators announced a fundraiser to buy new playgrounds.

"We want a fun, safe, engaging place for our kids to play where they will get great exercise and stretch their legs and have fun," said Nick Shockney, Principal Mechanicsville Elementary School.

Parents, teachers, students and the community teamed up to help raise $75,000 for the playgrounds. On Sunday September 2nd, a terrible tragedy hit the Mechanicsville community.

5-year-old Nathan Chris Baker drowned while swimming with his family.  The Kindergartner was looking forward to the new playground.  After his death, his family pitched in to help the school raise money.

They requested donations for the playgrounds in lieu of flowers.  The Baker family says it's what Nathan would have wanted.

"Nate loved being outside.  For us to be able to do that not only would help us let others know about Nate, it would also give kids a place to play," said Justin Baker, Father of Nathan Baker.

Matthew Jaret also pitched in to help.  He held a Penny Drive and collected over $1,200.

"I want to help out and I want to be a part of this.  I don't want to sit around and just do nothing.  I want to collect some money also," said Jaret, fourth grader at Mechanicsville Elementary School.

Students learned a lesson in giving with the help of the community.

"The Bakers are truly amazing people and they are inspirational people.  In their time of great loss, they reached out to others and I am so thankful to them," said Shockney.

The Bakers have one request.

"I just hope they have fun because that's what Nate would want to do and I hope they recognize what a great school they have and a great community supporting them," said Justin Baker.

The school raised the money for the two new playgrounds in about two months.  They hope to have the new playgrounds ready this summer.

They will start building the new playgrounds once school is finished for the year.  The Baker family has launched the Nathan Chris Baker Foundation to help other schools in the area. Fore more information about the foundation click here .  

If you are looking for ways to help the school reach it's playground fund goal, to register your Dannon Rally for Recess codes or to donate click here

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