Government shutdown cancels annual Sand Castle Competition for school kids

(KTSF by JessieLiang)

San Francisco, CA – Fifth graders at John Yehall Chin Elementary, who have been working with architects for weeks on their sandcastle design for the Leap Sandcastle Contest, are very disapppointed about the cancellation of the event due to the partial government shutdown.

The competition was to take place Saturday at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. The beach is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which has furloughed about 209 employees, will be open until the government is fully operational.

Sand castle model made by 5th students from John Yehall Chin Elementary School (KTSF)

Michelle Zhao, the 5th grader from John Yehall Chin Elementary School says, “We only have one chance to do it so our first chance would be wasted. I feel sad.”

Zhao’s classmate Renee Huang says, “I’m going to graduate soon, so we can’t stay here and do anther year.”

Ty Suzuki, who is working on the sand castle project also says, “I was looking forward to it. I don’t have any plan for this Saturday, so I don’t know what to do. This is going to be the first time that I’m going to Ocean Beach.”

Takashi Fukuda, who is teaching and working with these kids says, “We’re done our work. We’re ready to go. We would like the event to go on but obviously it’s not going to be this weekend.”

Annual Sand Castle Competition has been last for 30 years hosted by Leap, the San Francisco non-profit organization that uses the competition as a fundraiser to support its arts education program in Bay Area schools.

Last year, the event raised $253,000 for Leap. Julie McDonald, exective director of Leap, says they’re planning to raise $270,000 through the event this year, nearly half that organization’s budget.

“Most schools don’t have the resources or the time to give their kids the quality of education that includes the arts which we believe that’s the part of complete education that every child should receive. So what the money go towards is hiring the professional teaching artists to go to the classroom,” said McDonald.

Leap now is planning to reschedule the event as soon as the shutdown ends.

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