The cheering went on for a full 60 seconds. The students of Huntsville Public School erupted in applause following the December 1 announcement of a $40,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Huntsville (Ontario, Canada — D 7010) for the school’s long-awaited inclusive playground.
The completed playground is planned to include a rubberised surface, lots of ramping and a central tower that will make it the highest playground structure in the region.
In a speech to the students following the announcement, teacher Kerri Knappett held back tears as she told the children why this announcement was so important.
“What I love the most about today is that you guys can see that you kids can come up with a seed of an idea and have it grow into the most beautiful flower you can ever imagine. I’m so proud of all of you,” said Knappett.
Students have been involved throughout the project, even going so far as to contact media organisations to generate attention.
The Rotary donation came shortly after the disappointing announcement that a funding grant through the Aviva Fund would not be coming through.
“If there’s one thing I learned through this experience, it’s that sometimes you don’t get what you want. It can be discouraging and disheartening, but the next day or a little while longer, all of a sudden things change and all of a sudden you are doing a happy dance because it comes from an unexpected place and an even better place,” said Knappett.
Kim O’Grady, president of Rotary Club of Huntsville, said they wanted to support the programme because of what it means for the whole community.
“We certainly saw this as an opportunity not only for the students of Huntsville Public School to have an inclusive playground, but for the entire community. Being here today and witnessing the enthusiasm and excitement from the kids is mind blowing,” said O’Grady.
Construction on the new playground is expected to begin in early summer 2018.