Sun­ny­side Dream play­ground on track

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

Ma­jor work has be­gun on Sun­ny­side Ele­men­tary’s ‘dream’ play­ground project, nick­named “Sun­ny­side Up”, thanks in part to the grant ap­provals that came through in July, rep­re­sent­ing an amount of a lit­tle over $40,000. The Min­istry of ed­u­ca­tion (MELS) will pro­vide $23,000 while the ETSB has promised $16,000. Fundrais­ing over the past years has also raised about $26,000.

“We had a bull­dozer and a back­hoe here in Au­gust. They carved out a val­ley and built a nice slid­ing hill for the kids. We’ve got the shape, now we need more fea­tures like some big boul­ders on one side of the hill for the stu­dents to play on. We’re also re­ally think­ing about plant­ing trees this fall,” said the school’s prin­ci­pal, Steve Weary, in an in­ter­view with the Stanstead Jour­nal.

The orig­i­nal project that was con­ceived a few years ago for a ‘nat­u­ral’ play

space, a new con­cept in out­door re­cre­ation ar­eas for chil­dren, had a price tag of roughly $160,000. “We de­cided that we had enough money to re­ally go ahead and get a good start and do a lot of the work. Benoit Trem­blay, who has the heavy equip­ment, is pro­vid­ing great work for a great price, and we de­cided to use grass seed in­stead of sod. We also re­duced the size of the soc­cer field to one ele­men­tary-sized field, but we’ll still have four goals in place. That will all save a lot of money. The staff and the kids are re­ally ex­cited, even though, right now, half of the play­ground is out of bounds,” said Mr. Weary. No new fundrais­ers for the play­ground project will be held this year. “We de­cided to see what we could do with what we have.” A play­ground spe­cial­ist will over­see the project.

There are 121 stu­dents this year, ex­actly the same as last year. A new teacher, Mrs. Mc Kelvey who pre­vi­ously taught at Ayer’s Cliff Ele­men­tary, will re­place Ms. Grey who is tak­ing a ma­ter­nity leave. The Phelps Helps af­ter school tu­tor­ing pro­gram will re­turn to the school and will surely be ap­pre­ci­ated since the school’s govern­ment grant for af­ter school tu­tor­ing, a dif­fer­ent pro­gram that the school was run­ning, has been cut. “This year we want to con­tinue the em­pha­sis on read­ing and com­pre­hen­sion. We tracked the scores of stu­dents last year and saw that 97% of our stu­dents im­proved their read­ing scores and 31% of the stu­dents gained more than one year of read­ing skills dur­ing the school year,” ex­plained Mr. Weary, proud of his stu­dent’s ac­com­plish­ments. “It’s so im­por­tant not to just read to your child, but to talk about the story af­ter­wards, ques­tion lit­tle de­tails to see if the child un­der­stands the story,” he added.

“We’re plan­ning to do the cir­cus pro­gram again this year. The stu­dents will do an­other per­for­mance at the end of the year – last year they per­formed for a sold-out crowd! As al­ways, we want the stu­dents to be proud of their school and of what they’re achiev­ing. We want Sun­ny­side to be an im­por­tant part of the com­mu­nity,” con­cluded Mr. Weary.

The Gov­ern­ing Board elec­tions were held re­cently and the fol­low­ing par­ents are now on that com­mit­tee: Miranda El­ston, Chrys­tal Good­win, Dar­lene Lussier, Ja­son Poitras and Am­ber Strem­me­laar. Par­ents should feel free to con­tact them to dis­cuss school is­sues.

photo cour­tesy

Sun­ny­side prin­ci­pal Steve Weary on the bull­dozer that trans­formed the play­ground in Au­gust.

photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Sun­ny­side prin­ci­pal Steve Weary be­side the newly sculpted site that will be ready for the stu­dents to en­joy soon

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