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A star is born: Student brings gaga to Solana Santa Fe

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As a result of Marcos Ramirez’s requests, two gaga pits have been built at Solana Santa Fe.
(Karen Billing)

Solana Santa Fe sixth grader Marcos Ramirez is responsible for bringing gaga to his school—not the pop star but the popular fast-paced game of gaga played in an octagonal pit.

In the first week of school the 11-year-old Marcos approached Solana Santa Fe Principal Matt Frumovitz about installing a gaga pit, a game he had played at summer camp. In the game, kids try to get players out by hitting them with the ball below the knees—there is lots of running, dodging and jumping around in the pit.

“It’s a really fun game and everyone I know really liked it,” Marcos said. “I expected the principal to say no.”

But Frumovitz didn’t say no. He was aware that Skyline School had recently installed a gaga pit and told Marcos he would consider it—Marcos came back armed with a petition signed by students.

Frumovitz said the school had the funds to purchase the brackets; sixth students took ownership of the project writing letters to Dixieland Lumber in Solana Beach about wood to create the octagonal low walls of the pit. Dixieland ended up donating the wood to the school.

Marcos said it was exciting to see the pit installed, “All of the grades play,” Marcos said. “I play a lot, it’s one of my favorite things. People say I hit really hard. It’s easy to get people out the harder that I hit.”

“It was so popular that kids and parents wanted another one,” Frumovitz said.

Parents donated money for a second pit, with the wood again donated by Dixieland.

The double gaga pits are just the beginning of playground renovations at the school. The blacktops will be resurfaced and repainted this summer and the school will also be getting a new play structure.

The 25-year-old playground at the school was due for an upgrade and students, teachers, staff and parents were all involved in its replacement, voting on four different options. The winning design won in a landslide, featuring all kinds of climbing obstacles, a twisty slide and shade.

The hope is for the new playground to be installed by the beginning of the next school year, possibly this summer.


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