A group of Charlotte volunteers has spent the past decade building 10 playgrounds – and a marching band.
The Business Volunteer Council gathered Wednesday at Paw Creek Elementary School for its 10th annual one-day construction of a children’s playground. The group toiled in rain for part of the day, but they succeeded in completing a playground and outdoor research area for Paw Creek’s 560 students.
They also were entertained by a drum line, made up of students from the school that received last year’s playground. The drum line, its leaders say, owes its existence to the people behind the annual playground build.
“There was some money left over last year after we built the playground at Winding Springs Elementary,” explained Charlotte Center City Partners’ Moira Quinn, who has played a prominent role in the effort. “We thought about rolling the money over to this year, but it was donated for 2011. So we asked the school what it would like to do with the money.”
Winding Springs Principal Myrna Meehan and music teacher Karl Stolz suggested a marching band. Stolz has organized part of that band, the drum line, and it won an award in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Charlotte last month. The horn and woodwind sections are in training, and the band soon will get uniforms – after landing a grant from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.
“The students are having a fabulous time,” said Winding Springs staff member Rena Morton, who has worked with Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps and helped lead the drum unit Wednesday.
The music provided a lift for Paw Creek’s students and staff, and for the volunteers who worked much of the day in drizzle and under cloudy skies.
“This playground will make a big difference for us,” Paw Creek Principal Mary Jo Koenig said. “We have worked hard on our academics. But you need physical activity to accompany the academics.”
She said students helped design the playground and equipment, and they’ve learned the value of hard work.
“It’s a wonderful day for our school,” she said.
Quinn said this year’s effort included 174 volunteers and 53 Charlotte-area companies. In all, the companies donated $72,000 in cash or materials.