Roller skating trip balances work, play for Putnam Elementary School students

Photo by Michael Kelly Children from Putnam Elementary School in Marietta swoop around the track at the Marietta Roller Rink on Friday. Students got a half day of recreation courtesy of the parent-teacher organization.

MARIETTA — The sound of small wheels on hardwood floors echoed through the building, along with disco music and the near-audible sizzle of children burning off energy.

Putnam Elementary School in Marietta went to the roller rink Friday.

The morning session was for kindergarten, second- and fourth-graders, and the afternoon for first, third and fifth grades.

“We wanted to do something for the kids, and the PTO had some money left over at the end of the year, so we thought, ‘Why not?’ “ said PTO member Lisa Barth.

Watching students whiz around the track — some of them getting to know the floor surface more closely than they might have wished — PTO volunteer Rachel Barnhart said the students have put in a long, hard year.

“This is really something they enjoy and deserve,” she said.

The students brought with them a range of roller skating skills.

Third-grader Addison Schuck said it was her first time on skates.

“I fell a few times,” she said.

“I helped her up,” her friend Anna Miller said. “I fell three times, but this is still better than being in school.”

Eastin Tucker, a fifth-grader, moved with ease around the oval rink.

“I come here about once every two months,” he said. “It used to be more often but I’ve gotten busy with things. No matter what, this definitely beats sitting in class.”

Another fifth-grader, Haidyn Chutes, said he comes to the rink occasionally but enjoyed being with the large group from the school.

“It’s fun unless they cut you off,” he said.

Rink owner Mike Gibeaut, standing behind the counter, said he often has school groups at the facility, which is 74 years old. He’s been working there for 21 years, he said while taking in and storing another set of skates.

“We’re pretty close with the schools,” he said.

Looking out toward the oval floor where students hollered, rolled and occasionally fell, he said, “Maybe this will let them settle down tonight.”

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The Marietta Roller Rink

* Age: 74 years

* Time owner Mike Gibeaut has worked there: 21 years

* Number of Putnam students there Friday: 125 in the morning, 125 in the afternoon

* Number of parent volunteers: About 50

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