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Community raises $30 thousand for new synthetic turf kickball field at Wanda Gray Elementary

Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 5:42 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Every year, the PTA at Wanda Gray Elementary in Springfield holds a fundraiser to buy new supplies at the school. Normally it’s smaller things.

“The PTA meets with Mrs. Carter, the amazing principal at Wanda Gray, and discusses what the school needs.. whether it be new entrance rugs or new walkie-talkies for the teachers,” says Kristin Drennan, President of the Wanda Gray PTA.

But this year, the group decided to tackle a much bigger project... replacing the kickball field on the playground with a synthetic turf one. But why? 4th graders who used it every day say it was fun to use, but could be improved.

“It was always real muddy and dirty and hard to play on,” says Silas Williams, a 4th grader at Wanda Gray.

“The bases weren’t lined up correctly and weren’t like equal,” says 4th grader Kinsley Fury.

But there was a little road bump. The 30 thousand dollar price tag.

“I was a little, which probably helped, overly optimistic,” says Jasmine York, a parent and the fundraising committee chair for the PTA. “I was thinking, yeah, we can do it. It’s gonna be fine. And then we got into it and I realized, that is a lot of money.”

That optimism was well placed though. A new synthetic turf field is installed and not a penny came from the school.

“It was really the families of Wanda Gray that literally hit it out of the park,” says Drennan. “We extended our fundraiser an extra week, and they just keep giving and giving. We raised $25 thousand, just from families. The other five came from local businesses.”

“We even had kids give,” says York. “I remember one kid gave 67 cents with a note as a thank you.”

Because of that community support, those 4th graders who were kicking it in the dirt have a new and improved place to play every single day. Drennan says the field should last for well over a decade.

“It’s gonna be amazing to be able to play on it,” says 4th grader Harrison Auge.

“It’s gonna be a big difference playing on this and not getting mud all over you every time you slide onto base or something,” says 4th grader Stella Brown. “I’m really excited.”

“For everybody to just like come together and give a little money here and there... that’s pretty awesome,” says Fury.

The PTA plans to celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Wanda Gray on March 4th at 9:30. That’s also when all of the students at the school will get to try out the field for the first time.

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