Pine Hill School Playground Project

A group of volunteers from the community launched an initiative called the “Little Pandas Playground Project –In Honor and Loving Memory of Cynthia Van Vleck” with the intention of raising money in the community to purchase new equipment and recruit volunteers for the installation. Our goal is to fundraise $50,000  by April l, 2018. Contributions exceeding $1,000  will be recognized at the ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for late June 2018. A plaque recognizing their donation will also be displayed on sitting benches surrounding the playground. Through the generous donations of our Pine Hill/South Bay Parent Teacher Student Association, and with a match from the District, we have already raised $12,500 .

Can we count on your support?  If so, please make a tax-deductible donation to the project by completing the Pledge Form!  Please return the completed Pledge Form to SBUSD, 6077 Loma Ave, Eureka, CA 95 503.

Pine Hill School's New Playground

In Honor and Loving Memory of Cynthia Van Vleck

I was a teacher at Pine Hill School for thirty-one years from 1985-2016. I was so pleased when Superintendent Gary
Storts told me that plans were being made to name the new playground in Cynthia Van Vleck's honor. To me, Cynthia
is synonymous with Pine Hill School.  When I became a student teacher, I hit the lottery when I was assigned
Cynthia Van Vleck as my master teacher. After the first hour in her classroom, I was sure that I had chosen the
right profession. She had the magical ability to connect with her students, and I learned so much from her that year.
She was firm but fair with her students. She had that special ability to inspire others and her students did not want
to let her down. One of the things that most impressed me that year was the number of former students that came
to visit her. That spoke volumes to me about the impact that Cynthia must have had on them. Cynthia was also one
of the best principals who I ever worked for. She supported her staff and provided love and discipline to all
of the kids in the school. She twice came out of retirement to help the South Bay School District in a pinch
when she was asked to step in as a temporary administrator.I remember her saying at the time, “You know I wouldn't
do this for anybody else. I have a lot of myself invested into Pine Hill School, and I will always care about its future.
Cynthia instilled this love of school and children in me. I helped install two previous playgrounds, built the walls
for wall ball three times, wrote a grant for and later installed the four basketball standards that are used each day by
kids today, and painted virtually every line on the playground often with the assistance of the kids from
Student Council. I feel privileged to have worked with Cynthia Van Vleck, and I am really happy to know that the
future playground is going to be named in her honor. I cannot think of a more deserving person in the
South Bay School District to recognize for her lifelong contributions to education.

Pete Springer
Retired Pine Hill School Teacher

Little Panda's Playground Project Committee Members:

  • Gary Storts, Superintendent
  • Tami Beall, Pine Hill School Principal
  • Diane Schorlig, South Bay School Secretary
  • Shannon Wilson, Operations
  • Kristina Darby, Pine Hill School Teacher