Community pulls together for kids
ST. IGNATIUS – It used to take two minutes to line the elementary kids up after recess – now it takes five. The kids are busy twisting around a yellow pole, going up the solid wavy ladder and back down one of the six blue slides on the new playground equipment.
“The twisty slide is the best,” said Cora Matt, 7. “We didn’t have many things to play with before we got this.”
Superintendent Bob Lewandowski explained that the equipment is designed for children of all abilities with safety in mind, and that costs money — about $62,000. The majority of the school’s budget goes towards academics, which left nothing for the playground, so the community helped make the project happen.
“Our community can be really proud,” Lewandowski said. “Everyone helped to make this happen, from the kids that emptied the change from their pockets to the bigger checks people donated. It’s just amazing how everyone worked together.”
The Mission Possible Playground Committee held several fundraisers over the past four years to help fund the project, including a penny drive, pizza sales and a walk-a-thon.
“Even people who don’t have kids at this school helped, and people outside this community,” he said. “It was the love of kids that brought people together to make this happen.”
The kids are excited about their new equipment.
“We’ve seen kids out there playing after school until dark,” he said. “This gives the kids something to do on the playground to create positive interactions.”
Lewandowski hopes to see the community pull together again for the next phase of the project and he already has a matching grant available.
“We want to put in another playground on the other side of the school for the older elementary kids,” he said. “We need $24,000 for the second phase. We’ve already collected $13,200. I think the first phase awakened a giant as to what this community can do and I hope they continue that with the second phase.”
People can make donations by calling the school at (406) 745-3811 or online through a link on the school’s website.