SOURIS — Souris Consolidated School's plans for an inclusive playground have gotten a big boost this morning.
© GUARDIAN PHOTO BY MARY MACKAY
Souris Consolidated Grade 3 students Rachel MacLean, Jessica Doucette, John Lang, Sarah Carter and Connor Chaisson are rallying for their Souris Playground for All cause, which earned the top votes in the Aviva Community Fund qualifying round. Voting for the semifinals starts online Dec. 2.
The Aviva Community Fund has announced the school's Playground for All submission has won gold.
Souris Consolidated will has earned $135,000 through the fund, the organization announced via CTV Canada AM this morning.
The Boys and Girls Club of Summerside had also been a contender for the funding.
The idea for an inclusive playground started a few years ago when students in one classroom at Souris Consolidated were upset that their classmate, John Lang, who has cerebral palsy, couldn’t join them on the school playground.
“There was no equipment (accessible to him). He couldn’t even get on the playground, and his class noticed that he couldn’t go out to play with them,” Shelly Kennan, co-chair of the Souris Consolidated Home and School, told TC Media in an earlier interview.
“He has cerebral palsy, and he can’t come out of his wheelchair at school, so the children started staying in with him. He’s the most loved kid in school. He doesn’t speak, but he has this amazing smile.”
John’s classmates at that time started working on a project to design an inclusive playground.
A year later when the Souris Consolidated Home and School found out that the school would be closed and torn down in June of 2014 and the students and staff would be relocated to the high school, which is currently under renovation to become a K-12 school, the inclusive playground idea came to the fore again.
An official committee was formed to start designing a playground that would suit the new site.
At the last minute, the Home and School decided to put forth its project idea to the Aviva Community Fund competition last year for the $100,000 to $150,000 project category.