East Side Students Raise Money for New Equipment

In the right context, the word “recess” should hearken back to a nostalgic time period in all of our lives – elementary school.  It was a time during the school day where we could take a break from the monotony of desk work and listening to short stories and math principles, and stretch our legs as we ran full speed to the nearest set of monkey bars, swing sets, and slides.  Recess was a momentary pause during the day when we could leave our work on our desks and recharge our minds with shots of adrenaline and endorphins produced from the unabashed expulsion of energy that is unique to childhood.

The integral part of recess, however, is the necessary equipment needed for play.  The equipment needs to be safe, but also challenging enough to be fun.  It doesn’t need to be overly conductive for heat or cold so that when you grip those monkey bars, you come away with scorched palms or numb fingers depending on the weather.  Equipment should be easily accessible for all children as well as relatively new.  At East Side Elementary School, three students have made updating the playground equipment a top priority.

Chelsea, Destiny, and Sami are third grade students at East Side Elementary School, and they came up with a plan to update the playground equipment at their school.  They noticed how old the playground equipment was, but they also knew that updated playground equipment wasn’t cheap.  So, they set out to find some answers.

“We were on the swings and we heard one of the teachers talking about how old the equipment was, and it’s something we’d noticed, too.  It was Destiny’s idea to talk to Dr. Halbrook (ESE Principal) about it.  Then, we started trying to figure out ways to earn money,” Chelsea said.

Since nearly everyone loves sweets, the girls decided that selling cookies would be the best way to build some capital towards purchasing new equipment.  When they realized that eating cookies can work up quite a thirst, they also added Gatorade and water to their fundraising repertoire.

“We want to sell cookies, gatorade, and water.  We’re gonna make sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and maybe some with M&M’s in them,”  Chelsea said.

And, boy, did they ever make some good cookies.  

On Tuesday, May 10, there was a line of students snaking through cafeteria tables, waiting to purchase some of the homemade cookies.  By the end of the shift, they had sold out.  The girls were off to a good start, but raising enough money for new equipment was going to be an arduous task.  

Among the updates needed are new swing sets, new monkey bars, and a way to make the equipment inclusive for all students – which was a priority for the girls.  

“We want an area under the monkey bars that has styrofoam or something soft under it to land on when we fall.  Our swings are broken, so we would want new swings.  Some of our swings are snapped in half; some of the chains are broken,” Destiny said as she explained some of the current disrepair on the playgrounds at ESE.

As word begins to travel about the girls’ fundraising aspirations, students from other counties are pitching in to help out, too.

Rachel Sanders, a teacher in Tipton County, goes to church with one of the girls.  She heard about this idea and told her students about it.  A boy in her class named Rhett raised over 200 dollars to help ESE with their new playground equipment!  

While purchasing new equipment is important for ESE, what cannot be overlooked is the entrepreneurial drive of three third grade girls that want to make their classmates’ school experience better.