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Playground gets a little help from friends PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 19:12

Former teacher writes book about pupil’s life experiences to help raise money for All My Friends Playground to be built in Centennial Park

    The inspiration behind the upcoming All My Friends Playground in Centennial Park, Cassie Dyer, is now the central subject of a new book.
    “Life Lessons Starring Cassie Dyer,” written by her former special education teacher Dawn Rosewitz, was recently published by Amazon two weeks ago.
     “It was pure shock and amazement. I couldn’t believe somebody was taking that much of an interest in Cassie and wanted to do something special for her and the playground,” Dianne Dyer, Cassie’s mother and president of All My Friends Playground, said.
    All My Friends Playground is to be an all-inclusive and accessible playground for children with disabilities. Dyer said her motivation to construct the playground began about six years ago when Cassie, who has autism, wanted a playground so her friends could play together.
    Rosewitz, who was a teacher at Cedarburg High School, began working on the book last school year before she started teaching for Northern Ozaukee High School in the fall. She said she wrote several articles for an educational magazine in the past, but never thought of self-publishing a book.
    “Being a special ed teacher, you teach your kids life skills and how they can live as independently as possible. But the kids really teach us teachers as much as we teach them,” Rosewitz said. “That’s what the book explains, and I’ve learned something from all of my kids.”
    Each page of the book illustrates a picture of Cassie and her friends with an anecdote about various lessons in life.
    According to Rosewitz, the lessons express how little moments in life can often change our outlook on the world.
    Although Rosewitz no longer works with Cassie — a junior at Cedarburg High School — the pair continues to stay in touch.
    “They’re still close and go shopping at Target together or go to the movies,” Dyer said. “It was a big transition for Cassie this year and it’s slowly getting better, but it was definitely hard on Cassie not to have Dawn there as her safety net.”
    Dyer also said the money raised from the book will either go towards purchasing a fence picket or piece of playground equipment. Currently 25 orders have been placed on Amazon for the 26-page book that costs $10.
    According to Dyer, the funds raised for the playground is nearing the halfway mark of its $350,000 goal, and she hopes to break ground in Centennial Park this year.
    “We’re getting closer to our goal every day. I’m trying to keep people interested and to know we’re still looking for support,” Dyer said. “We’re working hard with fundraising and filling out grants to make it a reality. We’ve had a lot of great feedback from people with all their donations. We can’t wait to make it official in 2018.”
    Rosewitz is also considering writing a series of books on her former students.
    “I really want to share and highlight how awesome these kids are, and I want them to have an opportunity to teach us some important life lessons,” Rosewitz said. “They’ve become part of my family.”

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