Return to Headlines

Red Hawk Ridge Elementary awarded grant for inclusive playground after student presentation

Red Hawk Ridge Elementary students present at Parker Jordan Metropolitan District meeting“I was very nervous.”

Third-grader Griffin Lloyd was one of five students from Red Hawk Ridge Elementary who made a presentation on Sept. 19 to the five-member Board of Directors of the Parker Jordan Metropolitan District, a special governmental entity that provides park and recreation facilities and other civic infrastructure for the 1,080-acre district in southern Arapahoe County.

“It felt nerve-wracking because I haven’t really presented in front of a lot of people, especially important people,” fifth grade student Kiyah Duran said.

The students, all members of the Red Hawk Ridge Elementary Student Council, presented information about the need for a new and inclusive playground at their school.

“Our playground is old,” explained third-grader Lady Jolie Shyong “It’s been here since we built the school. It’s getting a little boring and sometimes the slide cracks and gives people cuts.”

The playground also has limited options for students and community members with disabilities, so the Student Council partnered with the school’s Parent-Teacher-Community Organization (PTCO) to develop a plan to improve the playground for all students and people in the community. They put together a presentation, complete with facts and photos about the current playground and the need for upgrades, so they could request grant funding from the Parker Jordan Metropolitan District.

Red Hawk Ridge Elementary students preparing for their presentationThe students spent a great deal of time preparing for their presentation.

“We practiced,” Duran said.

“We practiced in the library and we practiced at home,” Lloyd added.

Then they practiced some more. On Oct. 17, they learned their hard work paid off. The Parker Jordan Metropolitan District awarded the school a grant of $230,000 for the construction of an inclusive playground at Red Hawk Ridge.

“I think it’ll bring a lot of joy to people,” third grade student Ava Schell said. She explained that the playground will have a combination of wood fiber playground mulch and poured-in-place rubber playground surfacing, instead of the current surface of small rocks. “If there are some people with disabilities or in wheelchairs, they’ll be able to play and get to the slide and the swings easier.”

Red Hawk Ridge Elementary playground crewThe playground will feature a new jungle gym, disc swings, and outdoor xylophones and drums, so students can make music on the playground. Students and community members with and without disabilities will be able to access and enjoy the new space. Construction is slated to begin in December and the new playground should be completed by spring break.

“You talked about creating an inclusive playground for all, ensuring that all of our students and community members can enjoy a safe place to play,” Principal Michelle Chambers told Student Council members during their meeting on Nov. 7. “You were so courageous. You did a lot of work within a short time to share your voice, and we are so proud of you!”

Posted 11/28/2023.