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Camping out in 21-degree weather may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea.
But for the teachers at Batavia’s Robert Morris Elementary School, it’s a way to get a new playground for their students – and benefit the entire neighborhood, too.

Robert Morris Elementary is in the middle of the Pepsi Refresh competition. It’s a national campaign, and the top-ten vote getters nationwide will receive a $50,000 grant towards a new playground. Here’s the catch: students, parents and community members have to do the voting. And Robert Morris is currently in 19th place in the contest.

So, on Monday at 5:00pm, 25 teachers at Robert Morris will march outside into the cold. For every ten votes received, they’ll stay outside a half-hour longer – with hopes of getting enough votes to stay out all night.

Jerry Sloan is the third-grade teacher at Robert Morris Elementary. He explains the motive behind the stunt.

"We know that it's a widely-used playground, but there's not enough equipment on there for children with disabilities," says Sloan. "There's not enough equipment for younger students, in kindergarten. And some of the equipment is not really up to code - it's unsafe.

"We're kind of land-locked here at Robert Morris, so we want to utilize the facilties a little bit better than how we have it set-up right now."

Of course, Jerry says no one on the staff is worried about sleeping out in the cold:

"The teachers, I think, are a little more fired up about it than the kids," he boasts. "They're getting their tents and their gloves - the whole nine yards. So we're looking forward to it."

The overnight forecast for Monday – a low of 21 degrees.


1) Text the digits 104607 to the number 73774, OR

2) Vote online at, OR

3) On Facebook - Become friends with the "Robert Morris Playground Project," then click the provided link

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