Pickleballers and PTES Students and Staff Relish Campus Collaboration

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. - March 15, 2022 - PRLog -- Four years ago Robert Pappalardo and his fellow pickleball enthusiasts in Gold Canyon were in a proverbial pickle. They loved the sport, but needed a place to play.

The Pickleball Club worked out a deal with Apache Junction Unified School District to use the Peralta Trail Elementary School's basketball courts in Gold Canyon for an annual fee of $250.

A lot has changed in four years.

Interest in pickleball (considered the fastest growing sport in the U.S.) took off and the club expanded to some 110 players. A new arrangement was made with more emphasis on supporting the district's students and student athletes. Now the club has a fundraiser and provides tax donation credits (some $1,500 and growing) to provide student athletes at the junior high and high school financial assistance to participate in intramural sports.

"Our members appreciate the fun and excitement that comes from playing a sport no matter their economic circumstance," said Pappalardo, who is a retired educator and the former principal of what is now Cactus Canyon Jr. High.

The club also comes out to the school and pulls weeds and clears debris from the playground to create a better setting for the children to enjoy outdoor sports. The club also donates gently used nets to the district that are used in physical education classes.

"Our partnership with the Peralta Trail Pickleball Club is one of many examples of how our neighbors work together for the good of our students, staff and community," said Heather Wallace, AJUSD superintendent. "We appreciate their involvement and look forward to many more years of collaboration."

Located in beautiful Gold Canyon, AZ, Peralta Trail Elementary students and staff enjoy year-round desert splendor the moment they set foot on campus. The bobcat is the school's mascot and the Bobcat Pledge, GROWL (grow, respect, overcome, work and lead) helps students and staff stay focused on what's important in school and in life.

Enrollment is currently being accepted at all AJUSD schools. For more information visit www.ajusd.org or call 480-982-1110.

Sally Ann Marks
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