After years of fundraising, students, parents and staff of East Kensington Elementary celebrated the grand opening of their new playground Wednesday.
“We have a (Parent Advisory Council) that has worked many, many years to try and get this dream to come true and today the dream is here,” principal Susan Whyte said during an outdoor ceremony.
About 60 students – the heritage school’s entire population – participated in the celebration, presenting thank-you cards to Surrey school board chair Laurae McNally, documenting the excitement on camera and helping cut a ribbon to mark the occasion.
The colourful playground has been in use since the school year started, installed over the summer to replace an aging wooden one that was slated for removal for safety reasons. The new one cost about $50,000 – a total reached this year thanks to a generous contribution from the school district.
McNally told students the 2795 184 St. school holds a special place in her heart, because her son also attended – about 30 years ago.
“To come here today is like coming home to me,” she said.
She also told them that by sharing in the day’s events, they were adding to the school’s history. That history dates back to 1907, when a one-room schoolhouse was first built on the site.
McNally told Peace Arch News the schoolground, tucked into a serene setting complete with picnic tables and surrounded by trees, is Surrey’s “best-kept secret.” Citing planned growth in the Grandview area, however, she predicted the secret would soon get out.
Whyte noted the children of many families who helped fundraise for the playground have since moved on to high school. But she praised the school community for continuing the longheld tradition of working together to make things happen.
“Miracles happen here,” she said.