Playground bid gets national focus 

Students at Glen Lake Elementary School in Hopkins got a big boost in their efforts to build an inclusive playground, thanks […]

A sketch of the new accessible playground.

Students at Glen Lake Elementary School in Hopkins got a big boost in their efforts to build an inclusive playground, thanks to being featured on CBS TV’s On the Road news feature segment.  

Glen Lake has a lot of students with physical disabilities, but no wheelchair merry-go-round, swings or any adaptive playground equipment, which really bothered the students in Betsy Julien’s fifth grade class. 

“It just didn’t seem fair that some kids were just left out,” Wyatt Feucht said. 
“They didn’t look happy, and recess is about having fun,” said Rhys Riley. 
So one day the students asked Julien why they couldn’t just buy the equipment themselves.  

“I said, ‘Do you know how much that costs?! It costs a lot of money,’” Julien said. 
The students were undeterred at the thought of raising $300,000. They started collecting spare change, then held a bake sale, printed flyers and went door to door. Then they began cold-calling businesses and even got restaurants to donate a portion of their profits. This went on for months — until recently, when they finally hit their goal, with support from the Glen Lake Parent Teacher Organization. 

Riley says it was overwhelming to know that their hard work finally led to a more inclusive playground. As for the students who’ll benefit, they seemed to appreciate the effort almost more than the result. 

“First time I set foot on this playground I’m probably going to start crying from seeing the effort that all the school has made,” said John Buettner, who uses a wheelchair. 
After raising $300,000, the class set a new goal. They now hope to buy adaptive playground equipment for other schools in the Hopkins district. They are raising $900,000. Learn more at https://www.glenlakepto.org/glen-lake-accessibility-project 

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