The playground at Russellville Elementary School is getting an upgrade thanks to the efforts of the 4th grade class.
After nearly a year of work, the school will receive a $15,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to expand the recreation area.
According to RES Principal Katrina Wagoner, the effort began last year in the fourth grade classroom of teacher Amy Rau.
“She was working with the kids about student ownership of the building and how to make a difference. They came up with some things they wanted to do to improve our school. They ranged from air fresheners in the bathroom to changing the mulch on the playground,” Wagoner said.
“The biggest thing they wanted to do was extend the playground. The current playground is designed for kindergarten through second grade. There isn’t a lot out there for the older kids to do, so we started exploring ways to do that.”
Wagoner said the best part of the process was letting the students know that their work had paid off.
“When Mrs. Rau told them that we hade gotten the grant, they were so excited. It empowered them. Even though they are just 10 or 11 years old, they learned that they do have a voice and can make a difference if they work together,” Wagoner said.
The school came up with another $9000 for a total of $25,000 that will be spent on a new playground structure and to expand size and ground cover of the playground.
The project is scheduled to be complete next spring before the school year ends.
“We want the fifth graders to be able to enjoy it since they were the inspiration for it,” Wagoner said.