New playground the work of many
To those who attended the dedication of the Sacajawea Elementary School playground Saturday, the new facility was a symbol of the power of cooperation in a neighborhood that had a vision and worked to make it happen.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Onstage outside Sacajawea Elementary School, Principal Barry Dorsey was at the microphone, surveying the colorful, noisy crowd of hundreds — black, white and café au lait.
There were parents and children from countries in Asia and Africa and Latin America, from New York and California, and from right around the corner. There were parents with extra money and time, and parents who work two or three jobs to make ends meet, girls in long printed skirts and headscarves, and others in jeans and T-shirts, boys of every stripe happily chasing one another around the new playground.
Clearly this playground is much, much more than the sum of its parts: the raised gardens, the play structures and wood-chip "playscapes" — even a raised stage and mini-amphitheater.
To those who attended its dedication Saturday, the Lake City school's playground was a symbol of the power of cooperation in a neighborhood that had a vision and worked to make it happen.
For five months, more than 130 volunteers and donors focused on transforming an ugly expanse of asphalt into a playground where these curious, creative kids can learn and grow. They raised $60,000 and scored a $15,000 matching-fund grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. A family foundation connected to Karen Willemsen, parent of a kindergartner there, granted $25,000.
Parents built forms and poured concrete and built the garden beds and even assembled the shiny "play structure," otherwise known as monkey bars. They made food, brought drinks and planted flowers.
"Sacajawea totally does rock!" Dorsey told the crowd.
They knew that, it seemed. Children took the stage to show off talents. A dancer in a flowing pink dress gracefully swirled and bobbed. There was a violinist, a singer, a harmonica player and more singers, some with pipes and poise beyond their years.
"This is a great school," said Halima Hassan, 11, born in Kenya. She's never missed school, she said, and loves the field trips and now the playground.
"This was a collaboration," said Raymond Robinson, a landscape architect and parent who took on the job of designing the project.
Parents at Sacajawea, which was once slated for closure by Seattle Public Schools, are the kind who go pick up other parents, perhaps those working two jobs, to help get them to school events, Robinson said. "We really go out of our way to bring them together."
PTA Co-chair Tracy Patton said the children worked on the project, too, and contributed art for the mosaic wall.
"It's been like an old-fashioned barn-raising, with our whole community coming together to improve our school."
Carol M. Ostrom: 206-464-2249 or email@example.com
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.