The Norman Transcript

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August 31, 2013

Kennedy Elementary celebrates outdoor classroom given by Hitachi Computer Products

NORMAN — Four walls and a roof are not part of the $80,000 project given to Kennedy Elementary by Hitachi Computer Products (America), Inc. Friday morning.

Vision, passion and collaboration came to fruition as Kennedy students and faculty, Hitachi officials and some University of Oklahoma basketball players dedicated a new environmental learning space.

The state-of-the-art outdoor space at the school, 621 Sunrise Street, is designed to be interactive with a human sundial, butterfly garden, vegetable gardens, rock garden, solar panels and agrobiology features. Hitachi Computer Products’ gift also includes the company’s volunteers maintaining the outdoor classroom for Kennedy Elementary.

Students and teachers of Kennedy Elementary are excited to make use of the outdoor classroom because of the many unique learning possibilities it will provide students. Charles Wheeler, fifth-grader, said he looked forward to getting away from the noise and focusing more outside.

“We can learn a lot about nature with flowerbeds and birdhouses. We can learn about the ecosystem. All of the teachers and kids will love it,” Wheeler said.

Hitachi President George Wilson said the company envisions the dynamic learning center connecting students with the outdoors. Hitachi Computer Products was motivated to build the outdoor classroom for Kennedy Elementary as part of Hitachi’s dedication to protect the environment, Wilson said.

“What better way to affect the children than a hands-on environment. We hope this outdoor classroom will help them learn and grow,” Wilson said.

OU Men’s Basketball Coach Lon Kruger and players Tyler Neal, senior, from Oklahoma City, and Ryan Spangler, sophomore, from Blanchard, attended the dedication to show support of the project. Neal encouraged Kennedy students to stay on top of their priorities and take advantage of their new learning space. Coach Kruger expressed his appreciation of Hitachi Computer Products and their partnership with local businesses to provide such an opportunity for students.

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