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‘Four Girls With A Goal’ cut ribbon on new playground at Jonesboro Elementary

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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JONESBORO, Maine (WABI) - Now here’s something to smile about!

In February, we introduced you to Four Girls With A Goal; four fourth graders at Jonesboro Elementary School who had to write a letter about a problem for a class project. The problem they chose was the lack of up-to-date playground equipment, and it turned into a massive fundraising project spanning two years and tens-of-thousands of dollars.

“Forty six thousand, two hundred and thirty nine dollars.”

According to Teaching Principal Marjorie Hicks, thats how much money Evelyn and Claire Leahy, Vanna Smith and Aynslee Emery- just third graders in 2019- needed to raise for new playground equipment on the “big kids” side of the playground at Jonesboro Elementary.

“When they told us, they told us they were just going to sell their drawings at their Halloween party,” said Evelyn and Claire’s mom Devon Appleby with a laugh. “We’re like, ‘okay, well…’”

But the Four Girls With a Goal didn’t blink at the number, and they became a bit of a phenomenon downeast. They reached the goal of more than $46,000 raised by this March, as fourth graders.

And on Tuesday, a dream two years ago of playing on state-of-the-art playground equipment became a reality.

“It has five slides,” Claire said.

Principal Hicks says the school has been trying to get new playground equipment for the students for years, but the money was just never in the budget. Fourth graders, though, don’t have much use for things like ‘budgets,’ especially Four Girls With A Goal, and the fact that they’ve been able to get this done in less than two years is nothing short of remarkable.

“Nowhere along the way did they say, ‘Let’s just quit, it’s too far away,” Hicks said. “So I have been most proud of that. That they’re seeing that their hard work is paying off.”

Now that the students have had a chance to play on the new equipment, the reviews are in, and are unsurprisingly five-star.

“It was really really really really really really really really fun,” said Claire.

“There’s some fun ways to get up, like the rock wall, and you can go across the monkey bars to get to other places too,” added Smith.

And Evelyn said her favorite part is, “The little musical instruments. There’s bongos, and like this drum thing.”

Better than the old dome thing from the nineteen hundreds for sure. But the new playground also represents the culmination of a journey that meant as much to the adults as it did to the kids.

“It’s incredible.” said Hicks of the last two years of fundraising. “They did it. I’m so proud of you girls, you don’t even know. The community has reached out, and it’s overwhelming to know that they’ve done this.”

“It shows people, like for future generations when they come here and play on this playground, they’ll know who helped them,” Aynslee Emery said. “And they can be inspired by us.”

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