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Fifth-graders study persuasion

Fifth-graders study persuasion

(Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016)

Fifth-graders are learning firsthand about persuasion.

According to Carrie Podlena, fifth-grade teacher, students chose to write about the current positioning of the Silver Lake ball diamonds. The students brainstormed reasons for and against the repositioning; interviewed Superintendent Tim Hallacy for doubts; distributed, developed and analyzed ball field surveys, looking for strong quotes; and wrote the paragraphs as a class. 

Podlena said they also held a competition between partners for the best introduction. Now, students are currently writing essays with partners. Some of the topics are getting soccer as a high school sport, having a town festival, bringing back art classed to the elementary school, and building a skatepark in Silver Lake.

The persuasive essay pertaining to the repositioning of the Silver Lake ball diamonds is below.


One sunny Saturday afternoon, everyone was enjoying a fifth grade baseball game.  Meanwhile, a two-year-old sister of one of the players was playing with a big red ball in the ditch.  The ball accidentally got kicked into the street.  Not thinking, the girl went into the road to retrieve it when a driver in a tall truck hit her.  She screamed, and her mother looked over to see her daughter lying in the street.  She ran over and tried to help, but her daughter was already dead.  We don’t want this to happen to a child in Silver Lake.  We believe the ball diamonds should be rotated so that the home plates meet behind the high school diamond.  This would be more convenient, safer, and could bring in more money for future improvements.

To begin with, rotating the positions of the ball field would be more convenient for spectators, players, umpires, parents, and coaches.  The concession stand, restrooms, and playground would be closer to the fields.  Umpires wouldn’t have to walk so far with heavy gear to get to their field.  Currently, spectators sometimes have to park on the street, but with the new layout they could park in the teacher parking lot north of the playground.  Bleachers could be easily turned to one field if more seats are needed for tournament play where more attendees would be present.  Finally, parents with more than one child playing at the same time could watch both games more easily.  One parent we surveyed said, “There is very little space between the fences and the streets, making it difficult for very many people to congregate and watch games.”

The second reason we should flip the fields is for safety.  Currently, the bleachers where the fans sit are next to the streets.  Young children often play in the ditches near these streets.  These ditches are dirty and full of mosquitoes, and kids often run up and down them not paying attention to the cars going by.  Sadly, according to, each year an average 626 children ages 14 and under die from pedestrian related injuries and more than 38,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms. A Silver Lake resident that lives across the street from diamond #2 stated, “People park in the lot next to my house.  Kids are constantly running from the sidewalk to the lot.  There are tons of distracted drivers.”  Parking in the street is also dangerous because kids often run out into the road without looking.

Thirdly, changing the field position could bring in more money for future ball field improvements.  If the fields were more conveniently arranged, Silver Lake could host more tournaments which would bring in more money.  Since the fans would be closer to the concession stand, they would be more likely to buy snacks.  With this extra money, the ball association could save money for lights, foul ball nets, sidewalks, picnic tables, benches, and shade awnings.  We could possibly even build a small playground for little kids.  This could make the area family friendly. 

No one can deny that rotating the ball fields would be an expensive project.  The land that the fields are located on is owned by the Silver Lake schools, so the district would be responsible for paying for the project.  Mr. Hallacy, superintendent of USD 372, says that no money has been budgeted for this improvement.  He suggests that Silver Lake reexamine the possibility of forming a Rec Commission that could work on improvements such as this one.  We believe the city should vote on this issue once again.  The town could also apply for a government grant to get the money.  If this didn’t work, the Silver Lake Ball Association could charge an admission fee to get into summer games.  Our city could do fundraisers such as bake sales, car washes, and garage sales.  We could also ask business owners in the Silver Lake area to make donations.  One field at a time could be rotated as the money is saved.

You could argue that the size of diamond #2 might change if the fields were turned.  The JV softball team uses this field, and it has to be a certain size.  However, we would make careful measurements and draw up a plan to make sure this field remains the same size.

Coach Jenny Whitehead and several others have brought this issue to the ball association and the Silver Lake Pride committee before.  A survey was sent out to parents of the students at Silver Lake Grade School.  Eighty-three percent of the 110 parents who responded agreed that rotating the ball fields would be a more convenient layout.  It is time to make the Silver Lake ball diamonds more convenient and safe, and by doing so, it might bring in money for future ball field improvements.

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Contact Information

USD 372
200 Rice Rd
P.O. Box 39
Silver Lake, Kansas 66539
Phone: 785-582-4026
Fax: 785-582-5259