Hundreds of people and children turned out last Saturday to celebrate the completion of the outdoor play area portion of the new Windham Primary School playground. With music by the third grade chorus and local musician Rick Charette, singing to the delighted squeals of the children playing on the equipment.
The project was completed with money from the school and through fundraising efforts from the playground committee. In total $50,000 was raised through many individuals and organizations over a 13 month period. It took 18 months to build both playground “pods”.
A granite bench was donated by the family of Candace Woolston along with money for the playground. Candace was a former teacher at WPS who passed away from cancer. Her parents, Bill and Barbara Wills, drove from upstate New York for the ceremony and were joined by many family members, including Woolston’s husband and two sons.
“Candace was all about being a teacher and very resilient,” said her father who will turn 92 in June. “I want to teach she said, and she did. She’s a great loss for us.”
“It’s a special moment in time,” Barbara Wills said.
Eagle Scout candidate Josh Libby presented a check for $700 that he raised to build a sandbox on the playground as his Eagle project for Boy Scouts. “It has been a big hit,” said principal and master of ceremonies Kyle Rhoads.
When the students saw the playground for the first time, “It was like a miracle had happened,” said playground committee member Michelle Jordan.
Aubuchon Hardware helped to sponsor the event. There were drinks, cotton candy and popcorn for all who attended. Superintendent Sandy Prince addressed the crowd, and other dignitaries from Windham and RSU14 were on hand to celebrate with the primary school.
The last phase of the primary school project will be to create a basketball court, put in a grass field, a baseball diamond and fence the entire area in. “It will require funding through the budget process,” said Jordan. The playground fund hopes to use money they raised and will raise for more seating and a backstop for the baseball field. Another Eagle project will happen over the summer, Jordan said. This one will involve painting new games on the tar.
Names in bench picture:
Green dress: Sarah Weigel
Son Will Woolston
Jack Woolston - husband
Ben Weigel – glasses back –
Pat Weigel blue – sister
Parents Barbara and Bill Wills
Bob Wills – leather jacket – brother
Kathy Wills – sister
Tyler Woolston – glasses in white – son