Fifth Grader Led Rally for New Playground at Seaford Manor School

Kristijan Barnjak galvanizes school community during Dannon Danimals Rally for Recess Campaign in effort to win $20,000 prize for playground makeover.

When a playground at the was deemed unsafe and torn down last year, fifth-grader Kristijan Barnjak knew he wanted to do something to help his school and his classmates who were saddened by the loss. When Barnjak heard about the Dannon Danimals Rally for Recess Campaign on television last August, he knew he found a way to help.

At the beginning of the school year, Barnjak wrote a letter to his principal Debra Emmerich asking if the school could enter the national contest. When she agreed,  Barnjak worked with the PTA, Student Council and others to help win the $20,000 prize for a playground makeover and an all-day recess party.  

Barnjak  made posters and flyers, put information up on websites and made daily announcements on the school’s public address system reminding his classmates to log onto the contest website and enter their codes from the Danimals yogurt packaging to gain points for the school. 

To gain even more points, Barnjak led an envelope-stuffing and stamping campaign to mail in codes from the Danimals cardboard packaging. Since the rules of the contest allowed only one piece of cardboard per envelope, many stamps and envelopes were needed. As a result, Barnjak began a Manor Stamp Drive, asking his peers to donate one stamp each.

“If everyone in the school brought in one stamp we would gain another 1000 points,” Barnjak explained.

With thousands of points to its credit, the school was a top contender. Barnjak rallied for a last surge of support to put the school in the top spot before the Feb. 8 deadline. In the end, Seaford Manor School, with more than 25,000 points,fell just short of victory to another school that earned 26,610 points.

Despite the loss, Emmerich said she was very proud of  Barnjak's effprts. 

"He sets a great example for everyone in the school," she said. "He always has the wheels turning; always looking for ways to improve the world and help others. He’s a natural leader who leads by example.” 

Barnjak said if the school won, he hoped for a playground with swings, because the old one did not have them, and that it would be green and white to symbolize Seaford’s school colors. 

“It’s all about Seaford Pride,” he said.

Tony Markovina March 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Its such a pleasure reading something positive in the news these days. Keep up the good work Kristijan. Keep your eyes and mind wide open, there are many more challenges awaiting.
Lorraine DeVita March 20, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Kristijan, I would like to direct you and your classmates and school administration to WWW.DONORSCHOSE.ORG. If you can with the approval of your parents and consent , go to that website and plead your case. Currently Chase Bank is matching donor funds up to 250K. I would also like to point ALL of our Seaford Teachers there. I had Previously given this website to Lori Fritsch last year in an email Its a wonderful resource to supplement classroom and school needs. Again to Kristijan and his fellow Manor Students GREAT JOB!
Motherof4 March 21, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Thank you for all the kind words... Ms. DeVita thank you for the link we will definitely look into it. The kids are determined to make this happen. If anyone else has ideas send them our way!
Thomas March 21, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Good Job!
Lorraine DeVita March 21, 2012 at 03:04 AM
@motherof4= any help i can give please email me at ljdcom@aol.com Myself, Pat Gelling, Janet Capestany and many other Manor PTA moms spent quite a few sweaty days one summer sanding and repainting all the playground equipment and raising PTA funds for the picnic tables and the protective stuff under the equpiment. Good luck and please if you need help do email me. i would be more then happy to lend a hand..


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