Students at Rock Spring Elementary School recently put their sales skills and their legs to good use by raising a little more than $6,000 for upgrades to the school's playground with their Apex Fun Run fundraiser.

Over the past few weeks, Rock Spring students went out into the community and gained pledges from friends, family, and local businesses to help with the revitalization of the playground. The students then ran laps during the Apex Fun Run on Wednesday, May 3.

According to parent coordinator Laura Beth Newsome, the school partnered with Apex to hold the Fun Run as a way to not only better the school's playground, but also help the students grow as people.

"It's an amazing program that goes beyond the typical fundraiser of selling candy bars or wrapping paper," Newsome said. "There are character lessons everyday from the Apex team, and each day the students learn to be engaged, become leaders, and the program is geared toward making better people and families. It wasn't just running laps, they learned a lot of great stuff every day."

Since being built in 1999, Newsome said, the school's playground has accumulated some wear and tear that could use a little sprucing up.

"The playground gets a lot of community use in addition to that of the school, so it gets used more than the playgrounds at most schools," Newsome said. "We want to refresh it with some new equipment, new mulch, and maybe a blacktop with basketball goals for some of the older kids."

Over the course of the fundraiser, Whitney Cleghorn's third-grade class really showed a lot of initiative by raising the majority of the school's total.

Dylan Cook, a member of Cleghorn's class, was recognized as the top seller in the school after bringing in $1,873. (Note: Dylan is the reporter's son.)

"I got pledges from family and people I know, and then my mom took me to some places and businesses that gave us a lot of pledges too," Cook said. "It was cool and a lot of fun."

Now that the Fun Run is in the books, Newsome said, the playground project will move forward over the summer.

"We will hopefully get the mulch this summer so it will be ready for the playground when students return in August," she said.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at