Categorized | Opinion

Process of Playground

By Sheila S. Pugh

MES Pennies for PlaygroundEDITOR’S NOTE: Sheila S. Pugh, with Millington Elementary School, wanted to express gratitude to those who help the school obtain a new playground that will soon be installed.
We are so excited about a much needed playground at Millington Elementary School!
The school has grown by more than 200 students and truly needed an adequate and safe play structure. The old saying goes, “It takes a village…” and couldn’t be truer in this situation. Mrs. Wilson & Mrs. Welch allowed us to start “Pennies for the Playground”- a fundraiser that would slowly but surely build funds for this project.  Pennies would be collected and weighed weekly from each classroom by two volunteers then taken to Patriot Bank where they graciously sorted and counted them. Later, Millington’s Down Home Bank made a generous donation towards the Playground- Thank you Patriot Bank! Teachers competed for  various class incentives and rewards such as Extra Recess Coupons, Chili’s Kids Meals and Extended Lunch Time.  A Weekly Winner was named every Wednesday and awarded a Trophy, donated by Larry Dagen, to carry with them all week.
The grade-level assistants and office staff also took part by collecting pennies as well. There were several anonymous donations made that added to our total.  The Specialists even got in on it by handing out “5 Pound Pennies” to the most well-behaved class of the day. A large chart was displayed on the cafeteria wall to show class progress. After 10 weeks, we brought in $2,928.16. Way to Go!
Way before the Fundraiser started, we worked closely with Oscar Brown for direction and guidance regarding the specifics of this project.  He was extremely patient as he met multiple times regarding the playground and spoke with many other people about this ongoing project.  Despite many other pressing concerns, Dr Roper found time in his busy schedule to discuss the badly needed playground at MES. Not only did he hear us out, he was very interested in the need for it and the plans with which to achieve that goal.
On the last day of school, May 22, we received a very surprising donation from a group that visits our school on a regular basis. The Mid-South Therapy Dogs meet as a club and spend time with children in the library as they read. As if that isn’t treat enough, Debb Taylor and “Kimber” (a beautiful Golden Retriever) paid MES a surprise visit on the last day of school to present Mrs. Wilson with an astonishing donation specific to our playground!! We were stunned!!
The MES PTA made a large contribution towards our goal as well.  Lots of hard work, dedication and volunteer hours went into the last 18 months of fundraising. It was exhilarating to see a project come to light that would be enjoyed for many years to come!!
After revisiting the drawing board several times- the MES playground was placed on the agenda for June 1 MMS School Board Meeting. Brown was invaluable as were prepared for this. Many many months of preparation and teamwork from every person in the school, the town of  Millington and our new school board finally paid off. Our playground was approved! Clapping, cheering and smiles filled Millington City Hall. It really did take a village and we are grateful to every single person that played a role in making this vision a reality!
With all Sincerity of Heart- The Playground Project
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June 2015
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