Photo Gallery: McCann students build Ga-ga pit at Clarksburg Elementary
CLARKSBURG -- Students at Clarksburg Elementary School will be able to better enjoy their new favorite sport thanks to McCann Technical School seniors.
Thirteen students from the school's National Honors Society constructed a Gaga Ball pit for Clarksburg Elementary students this Saturday. The sport is often referred to as Israeli Dodgeball or Octo-Ball.
"I know on Monday when that pit is there, the kids are going to love it," Clarksburg Elementary School Principal Linda Reardon said this weekend.
Eighth-grade students were introduced to the sport at Camp Becket three years ago during an annual overnight trip, she explained.
"They just loved it," she said. "They came back and said our school should have one. We didn't have money for it at the time, but have had it in the back of our heads."
Students in sixth through eighth grades in the Student Council raised money with a series of hat days and other events which took place from last fall to this spring, she said.
In total, students raised roughly $300, she said, which went toward purchasing a prefabricated kit from the website gagaballpits.com.
The McCann Technical School students' work on Saturday was overseen by Principal Justin Kratz.
"This is one opportunity they have to meet the National Honors Society's community service requirements for membership," he said.
Two carpentry students -- Kelsey Gancarz of North Adams and Jade Tanguay of Adams -- cut boards to length and drilled holes using the provided templates, Kratz said. Students then sanded the boards and assembled the finished pieces, he said.
"I think somebody from every shop is here," he added.
Justin Schneider of Plainfield, a senior in the culinary program, said he first played the game himself at Camp Ashmere in Hinsdale.
The game is played in the pit, a large octagon or hexagon. Players stand at the edge of the wall, he said, and someone throws the gaga ball into the air. Players let the ball bounce and say "ga" three times. After the third bounce, players hit the ball toward others in the pit. Players are out if they are hit below the knee, he said.
"It's a lot of fun," Schneider said. "It can also get intense."
The pit is connected to multiple healthy initiatives taken at the school through a collaboration with the Northern Berkshire chapter of Mass in Motion, Reardon said. A new playground for all ages was constructed this past spring and funded through the Parent Teacher Group, she said. The school also held a bike to school day this spring.
The pit is currently behind the school in the parking lot, Reardon said, but will have to be moved for snow plowing. A major benefit to the pit is that it's portable, she added.
"We've cleared some trails from the school to the town field, so we'll bring it there for field days," she said. "We'll also have some special nights in the gym where kids can play."
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