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New Soccer Field at Palo Verde Represents Years of Campus and Community Dedication, Collaboration

“Five years ago, our students came to us and said, ‘We want to play soccer at our school,’” said Palo Verde Middle School Principal Jill Sarraino. 
Prior to Tuesday afternoon, that was never possible as the field at Palo Verde had been deemed unsafe for competitive soccer due to numerous ruts and berms, little to no grass and inadequate lighting—among other safety related issues. That forced the Panthers to hold both their practices and their games at a nearby public park where concerns over individuals and questionable behavior in and around the park were often raised.
In 2011, as the Palo Verde student council began raising money to go toward field improvements, the community started to take notice of their efforts. Volunteers made up of teachers, students, parents, community members, business and faith partners spent countless after-school and work hours working collaboratively on the field.
“We had volunteers come in with a front loader to start leveling the field while others tore down old, dilapidated bleachers and backstops,” Sarraino said. “Then, the following year, we had college students come out and start aerating the field using some of their own money. Even more people took notice, and with so much additional help and support from the community and the District, here we are today. We never could have done this without our community volunteers.”
The new field was officially dedicated on Tuesday afternoon at a ribbon cutting event ahead of the inaugural girl's soccer game between the Panthers and the Desert Foothills Scorpions. In attendance were past and present students, staff, and parents as well as WESD administrators and Governing Board members.

"When I was here, this was all dirt and there were just some old baseball backstops on the field," said former student Crystal Guervara. "It makes me happy that they get to enjoy all of this now."
On the Palo Verde campus and surrounding neighborhood, the new field symbolizes more than just soccer; It represents a family, on many different levels, that has come together with the common goal of doing what’s best for kids.
“I’m so excited for our Palo Verde community,” Sarraino added. “Soccer is so near and dear to the hearts of our students and we’ve been hearing for years now, how excited they are to play here, on the campus of the school they are so very proud of.”
Principal Sarraino punctuated the fact that the new field is just one of many celebrations that have taken place at Palo Verde, celebrations that are positively affecting student achievement.

“When our students step foot on this campus, there is a sense of pride and ownership because they have taken part in the activities and/or improvements at our school,” Sarraino said.


Field before

Field after