Weller Elementary School first-grader Brentley Phillips gave his school’s new playground two big thumbs up.
“It’s everything I ever thought was fun in my entire life,” said Brentley. “It’s awesome.”
Brentley and every other Weller Elementary student participated in a special ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 13. The ceremony celebrated the conclusion of the Universal Language of Play Campaign, a two-year effort that raised more than $200,000 for a new inclusive playground, says Weller principal Dr. Rebecca Donaldson.
“It takes a village and the entire Weller community and Springfield community became involved in raising money for our dream playground,” said Donaldson. “Today, you are seeing our dream become a reality because of your generous giving.”
One member of the Weller community, third-grader Sylvia, donated $120 to the playground fund last February. The $120 gift was the student’s entire life savings, which she adamantly asked to donate to the school’s playground. She had been saving the amount for five years.
Other students and parents raised money for the school’s playground. Fourth and fifth grade students last year had a bake sale. Teachers wrote grants. Parents donated gallons of buckets of change.
Their generosity was matched with the support of local organizations. The Musgrave Foundation, Conco Concrete, Riteway Concrete, PlayCore, GameTime and Play 4 All all donated funds to The Universal Language of Play Campaign.
“We have students from five continents who attend Weller,” said Dr. Donaldson. “We have students who are attending the ribbon cutting today who do not speak English. But when our English Language Learners come outside for recess, play becomes a universal language.”