The Goddard School at 494 Washington St. in Auburn raised over $700 to benefit the playground construction project at the Pappas Recreation Complex.  The photo night with Santa was a tremendous success, with families lined up the hallways waiting to meet Santa in his “workshop.”

The evening was the result of a tremendous effort by the Goddard School staff.  Upon hearing about the Pappas Complex playground initiative – dubbed ‘Slide to the Finish’ – owners Sheri and Matt Flandreau were determined to do something to help.  “We wanted to get involved” said Ms Flandreau.  “We are very supportive of play space for children, and this project is something we completely support.”

The Friends of the Pappas Recreation Complex (FOPRC), the group raising funds for the playground, were thrilled to hear from Ms Flandreau.  “We were really excited” said FOPC member Jennifer LaBonte, whose four children all attended Goddard School.  “I wasn’t really surprised” continued LaBonte. “Matt and Sheri have always been involved whether it’s a student or family in need, or a community project like this one.  I was thrilled, but not surprised.”

Families were able to talk to and pose for pictures with Santa.  One of the Goddard classrooms had been decorated as a Santa’s Workshop, providing a great backdrop for a family photos.  Goddard staff manned the cameras, as well as the printers so families were able to take their images home with them that evening.

Goddard also offered milk and cookies while people waited, with Pearson’s Elmhurst Dairy in Millbury donating the milk and BJs in Auburn providing cookies for the event.

While things did get a little hectic at times, the event was a big success.  “Everyone really had fun” said Director Rebecca Putnam.  This was a neat way to support the playground.”

“We are just so appreciative for thhe work of all the Goddard staff” said LaBonte.  “This was a big thing to organize, and they raised a lot of money” she added.

The money raised will be matched through a challenge grant the Pappases have offered for the playground.  The Friends of the Pappas Recreation Complex are aiming to raise about $150,000 by March 2014 in order to construct a playground at the Pappas Complex.  Arthur and Martha Pappas have offered to match every dollar raised by March 31, 2014, up to $50,000. The FOPRC is just about halfway to the $50,000 match goal with three months to go.

The Goddard School was opened by Matt and Sheri Flandreau in 2001 and has built a reputation for education excellence as well as community involvement.  Auburn Goddard School teachers have won the Goddard Systems, Inc. National Teacher of the Year honor every year for the past 7 years.  Goddard faculty  and students get involved in many community outreach programs such as Relay for Life, walk-a-thons and Worcester Animal Rescue League, to name just a few.