Making Their School Better, Quietly and Humbly
Karter & Jonathan with current playground
Meeting Karter Jones and Jonathan David Sanchez, second graders in Ms. Bryd’s class, you’d never know that they were undertaking a huge initiative to improve their school. Both young men are quiet and unassuming; Karter often speaking for both when asked questions about their project. After a little digging, it becomes clear that both are incredibly passionate about Reaching All Minds Academy and making it an inviting and friendly place for all students. To do this, Karter and Jonathan are starting with the playground.
As Karter explains it, the playground project started out simply: “I was walking in from the playground to get water and Mr. Mckoy asked me if I could help order playground equipment. And I said ‘yes’.” With that single word, Karter took the first steps to improving his school. Karter helped Mr. Mckoy pick out two new playground pieces: a geodome and a set of swings. When asked who would he thought would be able to help with this project, Karter knew Jonathan was the right choice. With Jonathan on the planning team, a tire swing and new slide were added to the playground plans.
Karter and Jonathan didn’t stop with just picking out a few items for a new playground. With the new items picked out, Karter and Jonathan called the playground equipment manufacturer to discuss options to save funds, asking if picking up the equipment was possible or if there were savings to be had in what was chosen. In the end, the total cost of the equipment exceeded the budget they’d been allotted. But a little thing like the budget hasn’t stood in their way. Along with the 3rd grade class, Karter and Jonathan are helping to spearhead a fundraiser within the student body to get the extra funds needed. Not only that, Karter and Jonathan are working to see this project through to the very end by helping to redesign the current playground space to fit the new items.
When asked why this project was important to the school, Karter said that the kids needed a safe and more exciting space to play. “A lot of the stuff is not that fun or usable for kids”, Jonathon added. Karter expanded that the students “were climbing in trees” and that there weren’t enough playground blocks to share. Some of the students were even at “a level ten of block hogging” Karter noted. When asked what they are most looking forward to in the new playground, Karter and Jonathan answered in unison and without hesitation: “THE GEODOME!” Both are excited to be able to climb on the dome as soon as it arrives.
The fundraiser for the new equipment is going well, with 58% of the goal collected. The new equipment should arrive in June and be ready for use by the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Karter and Jonathan are still involved with the project, and will stay that way until the last pieces of equipment are installed and played on. In their design of the playground and in their negotiations with the playground company, Karter and Jonathan are demonstrating the STEM lessons they’re learning at Reaching All Minds Academy. More than that, they’re showing pride
in their school, which has become part of who they are as students and as people. Karter encapsulated this mindset in one sentence: “That’s just what we did and that’s the whole story.” You’re right, Karter; it is just what you did. However, it’s not the whole story. The passion you and Jonathan have to create a safe and happy school for yourselves and your classmates is the real story. And we look forward to hearing the rest of this chapter and many more after it.