Friday, September 13, 2019

Raymond Elementary School dedicates new playground

Ribbon Cutting ceremony on the first day of school
By Briana Bizier

The first day of school is always exciting, but last week students at Raymond Elementary School and Jordan Small Middle School had an especially memorable event to mark the beginning of their academic year. As the bright September sun glittered off Panther Pond and Sebago Lake in the distance, students left their classrooms and walked to a new fenced field behind Raymond Elementary School.

Randy Crockett, the principal of Raymond Elementary School, welcomed students from both the
elementary and the middle school. After offering his heartfelt thanks to the community, parents, and local businesses whose generous donations helped with fundraising events such as last summer’s ice cream social and the annual holiday pie sale, Crockett described the elementary school’s new playground and play field.

We’ve installed a new balance apparatus,” he told the assembled crowd of teachers, students, parents, and community members, “as well as a climbing Webscape and two new sandboxes.” towering blue Webscape, which immediately drew the interest of many of the children walking past the new playground, has an especially touching story. The entire structure was made possible by a generous gift from Raymond Elementary School kindergarten teacher Stephen Seymour, his wife Karen, and their family. This journalist can confirm that both the balance apparatus and the climbing Webscape appear to be much more fun than anything found on school playgrounds when I was
growing up.

The elementary school’s new sandboxes were built as an Eagle Scout project by Alex Brooks, who was once a student of Raymond Elementary School and now attends Windham High School. A second Eagle Scout project is planned to replace the playground’s storage shed that holds jump ropes, sporting equipment, and sleds.

Principal Crockett also took time to generously thank the Maine National Guard. Members of the 262nd Engineer Company (Horizontal), which is based in Westbrook, did the original earth work to clear the new play field, hauled in over 500 loads of gravel, and turned what had previously been a steep, forested slope into a grassy, level field.

It’s always great to give back to the community that supports us,” Major Kerry Boese of the Maine National Guard said at the opening ceremony.
Alissa Messer, a parent volunteer who was instrumental in overseeing the playground’s construction, emphasized gratitude as she spoke to the students. “This playground is a labor of love,” she said. “Today, we are grateful for what we’ve been given.”

As the crowd applauded enthusiastically, the speakers held out their scissors and cut a wide, red ribbon, officially opening Raymond Elementary School’s new playground. The air filled with cheers as the students followed their teachers for tours of the playground equipment.

If you’d like to view Raymond Elementary School’s new playground and play field for yourself, it is open to the public after school hours and on weekends.

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