Under a clear blue spring sky on Monday morning, students at St. Peter R.C. School broke ground for what will be the school's new playground.
One student per grade was selected via a lottery to participate in the actual digging, each donning a matching shovel and hardhat.
Construction of the playground will begin over the summer and means students should have a dedicated space for outdoor learning, active play, team sports and physical activity by the first week of the next school year.
"I'm mostly excited about the rock wall, because I love to climb," said first-grade student Emma Balcom. "Another thing I think will be nice will be to have slide races with my friends and see who can swing the highest on the swings."
Fourth-grader Ella Ingwersen said she's looking forward to more playtime.
"It will be nice not to have to walk to another playground and waste our play time," she said. "It will be right outside our doors, waiting for us."
Her brother, Jack, a fifth-grader, agreed.
"Now, our school will be complete," he said. "I'm excited to see it built."
Seventh-grader Sara Reese sees the big picture, too: "The new playground at St. Peter's will give the students the opportunity for fun and enjoyment for many years to come!"
"It's been a longstanding hope of the school to have a playground for the kids," said Monsignor David LiPuma, who noted enrollment at the school will climb to about 200 students in September. "Soon, our children will have a safe and beautiful place to play and get exercise."
None of this would be possible without all the hard work from the school's playground committee, as well as the support of the parish community and many local businesses. The project has been two years in the making and will be done with about $130,000 that was collected from private donors.