In an on-again-off-again soaking mist on Friday afternoon, a tumultuous gathering of Purdy Elementary School preschoolers, kindergarteners and first-graders held their anxieties at bay awaiting the seemingly endless (to them) ceremony leading to the ribbon-cutting at the grand opening of the school’s new playground for its youngest students.
“Over ten years ago, Purdy PTA began to replace the playground,” said Bridgit Reichel, assistant principal. “The primary playground served many years and was well used. It fell into disrepair; many elements were removed for safety purposes and primary students no longer had a playground.
“PTA, Purdy staff, maintenance, and district staff found a collaborative solution: Work together for a safe playground, enhance students’ play, support learning and build community,” Reichel said. “Target: Complete the playground project during the 2015-16 school year.”
In her opening ceremony speech, student council president Avery De Maine, a fifth-grader, said, “Although the old playground provided memories for past students, I know the new playground will provide special memories for our future students.”
“It was heart-warming to see the moment when a 10-year-old dream for the Purdy family came true,” said Peninsula School District representative Kathy Weymiller.
The playground, also designed to support primary students and those with disabilities, has vibrant Seattle Seahawks colors. Staff and students picked out the colors.
“I got to teeter-totter! It was fun!” exclaimed kindergartener Avalon Brazell, whose classmate, Tanner Gibbons, exulted, “It had a piano! I really like it!”
To second-grader Randall Takehara, “It’s awesome! I like the slides because there are all different kinds.”
Classmate Wyatt Moore said, “I like how big it is. You got to go down slides and up rock walls.”
Kindergartener Audrey Ballentine said, “The playground is nice. I really love it! It was really fun because all the kids were laughing and playing.”
Said first-grader Annalea Deleon, “I liked that there were a lot of things to climb on.”
“I like the teeter-totter because you can sit by a buddy,” smiled Jaea Swaser, a second-grader.
PTA board members Stephanie Hutchinson and Katie Henrickson noted, “Purdy PTA has long had a dream of putting a new playground in place. With support of our amazing Purdy families, school, and district, we made that dream come true. The best part: Seeing all the excited kids smiling faces playing on it for the first time.”
“This is just another example of the types of parents and community we have at Purdy — always stepping up and making a difference for our children,” said Principal Kristi Rivera.
A young lady whose name I didn’t catch enthused over the new playground but confided to me, “What it doesn’t have is a sandbox.”
Attention all Eagle Scout aspirants: Here’s an Eagle project for you! Call Purdy Elementary at 253-530-4600 to learn what needs to be done.
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.