Noble Central students learn lessons in patience, hard work

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Years of effort lead to new playground

It took students years of work to create a legacy of play at Noble Central School.

Five successive years of Grade 6 students at the Nobleford school devoted themselves to a project that was scheduled for completion Saturday — a new playground with wheelchair ramps, equipment perfect for preschool-aged children, and loads of climbing equipment for older children. A showcase item is a massive “beehive” climbing apparatus.

The first group of students five years ago conducted a survey of other students as a Grade 6 Social Studies research project. What they discovered was an overwhelming desire to create a new playground at the school.

The following year, the Grade 6 students decided to start fundraising for the playground, and every successive Grade 6 class voted democratically, agreeing to continue the work of their predecessors.

“I remember it was very well received,” said high school student Kelton Schlamp, who helped conduct the student survey that started it all. “We got a lot of positive feedback.”

At the time, students were playing on wooden equipment. Schlamp, who was helping to build the new playground Friday, said he got his share of splinters from the old equipment.

“I left a mark on the school and I helped make a positive change,” he said, as volunteers assembled the green and yellow equipment. “It’s pretty hard to believe. If a Grade 6 student came up and said they wanted to do something like this… It’s pretty amazing.”

Current Grade 9 students recall their early efforts to fundraise included selling solar eclipse glasses, making and selling homemade dough they called “Noble Putty,” and distributing coin collection jars around the school and local businesses.

“It’s really exciting knowing we started all the way from the bottom, counting pennies,” said Hayden O’Brien.

“Initially, we had no idea what the costs would be,” recalls Graycie HeavyShield. She remembers staying after school to count the change. It totalled $63.

In the end, the playground represents about $130,000 in donations of cash and kind.

“We learned how to be patient,” HeavyShields says. “It’s really cliché, but really anything is possible.

“I can’t wait to play on this.”

Social Studies teacher Desiree Lamb beams with pride at the perseverance and effort of students over the years. Students identified fundraising opportunities, including community events they could work to raise money for the project. The ones now in Grade 8 began targeting government grants. Students now in Grade 7 wrote businesses letters requesting support and were thrilled when responses and cheques began arriving.

“For a teacher, the ultimate goal is to see my students go out and contribute to the community and society,” she says. “It’s been amazing.”

While their teacher speaks of her pride in her students, they were thinking of her, as she worked on the site Friday for a second straight day, completing a project her students initiated so many years ago.

“I can’t imagine how it must feel for her,” O’Brien said. “More than anything, we’re proud of her.”

Thank you to all the supporters, including build volunteers!

Donations $5,000 and Greater

Government of Alberta CFEP Grant, $42,000

Lethbridge County $15,000

Village of Nobleford $22,000

Richardson Pioneer $10,000

Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta  $5,000.00

Donations Under $5,000

Grade 6 Class Fundraising 2011-2014

Nobleford Agricultural Society

Nobleford Parent Association

Fortis Alberta Safety Award

Garr Welding

Nobleford Food Mart

Donations Under $1,000

Gibb’s Insurance

Noble Concrete

Monarch Feeders

Grandview Feeders

Edwards Group

Groenenboom Land and Cattle

Barons Elks

Vandenburg Hay Farms

Gems Girl’s Group

Western One Rentals and Sales

River Rocks

Village of Nobleford