BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Two years after a major storm snapped a massive tree in the playground of Rockwell Elementary school, students donned fluorescent clothes and ran laps in a transformed school gym to raise money for a new outdoor space.

The colorful fundraiser far exceeded their expectations.

“The goal was $8,000,” said Tanya Costa, a Rockwell parent and one of the organizers of the fundraiser. “We have already raised over $22,000.”

Called a “glow run,” the gym lights were turned off and black lights turned on, creating a new atmosphere — along with thumping music — to motivate students to run as many laps as they could. Many of the students sponsored by family, friends, or businesses who pledged a certain amount of money per lap.

“How better to break up a winter than to do a fun thing for the kids in February, and raise money for the school,” Costa said.

Much of the money will be used to renovate the playground that was forever changed when the massive tree — likely older than the school itself — came crashing down in an August 2021 storm that hit the East Bay hard.

“We’re trying to build an outdoor playground space, but make it a learning space as well,” Costa said. “Including a sensory path making it inclusive for kids to learn outside.”

The event began Thursday morning and ran all day in the Rockwell school gym. An event Costa would not describe as “peaceful.”

“It has been nonstop loud music and kids screaming,” She laughed. “It’s really cool.”