GREEN: Friday morning was all about smiles and cheers at Green Primary School.
The 925 pupils, Principal Kevin Finefrock, his staff, volunteers and parents wore smiles from ear to ear as the school’s new $123,000 playground was dedicated shortly after the start of this year’s third day of school.
The pupils erupted with cheers, high-fives and hugs as they learned of two special treats for the day while participating in the dedication at the all-purpose athletic field, which is part of the expansive playground.
The first treat came from Superintendent Michael Nutter: “Free cookies for everybody at lunch today.”
Green parent and philanthropist Randy Theken then upstaged the school chief by declaring each grade — first, second and third — would get an extra hour of playground time after the ceremony.
“Mr. Finefrock and his team have worked on this all summer, and I want all of you to enjoy it. Be safe and have a great year,” Theken said.
Finefrock said the expansion was made possible with the donation of $8,000 from the Green Primary PTA and $115,000 from Theken, a local business executive, whose staff also installed the equipment.
Called “the Primary Playground,” the area is situated on 66,000 square feet behind the school at 2300 Graybill Road. It is four times bigger than the previous playground and features three basketball hoops, an all-purpose athletic field, 16 swings, 30 other pieces of playground equipment, a 200- meter concrete walking path, six ornamental trees and benches.
“We are blessed with a community that does what it can to give our kids the best education possible,” Finefrock said. “Whether we need volunteers for an event or large donations for capital improvements such as this, our GPS families are so generous with their time and resources. Of course, this generous gift from Randy Theken is appreciated beyond words.”
Before the ceremony, Theken said: “The donation was for the kids. The playground structure capacity wasn’t nearly large enough for the 1,000 kids. Mr. Finefrock came to me and asked for my support, so I brought my construction crew and we donated this playground for the kids. That’s what it’s all about.”
Theken last school year donated 90 Apple iPads and ancillary equipment, worth about $90,000, to Green Primary School to boost the students’ learning ability through high technology. His family includes a third-grader in the school this year and another son at Green Intermediate School.
Third-graders who had used last year’s version of the playground voiced praise and gratitude to all for the new arrangement.
“I think it is really cool that we got a new playground and that we got so much new stuff,” Collin Sarver said. “It really makes me feel happy that we got a new playground. This is way better.”
George W. Davis can be reached at email@example.com.