New school playground open, thanks in part to benevolent former pupil
More than 300 schoolchildren literally jumped for joy as the ribbon was cut to their new playground.
South Wellington Intermediate School's playground was closed earlier last year after changes in regulations deemed it unsafe for children.
However, staff and the school's board of trustees quickly began fundraising efforts as did one particularly benevolent pupil.
During the summer holidays Juvenka Earthson cycled from Cape Reinga to Wellington to raise money.
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The 13-year old has since started high school but said he wanted current and future pupils to have something fun to do at lunchtimes.
"I used to play on the playground every day until a change in safety regulations made it out of bounds," Juvenka said.
It was "pretty cool" to see everyone at the school on March 20 clamouring to try out the equipment after his gruelling fundraising journey.
"It was pretty intense the first few days but we ended up arriving [in Wellington] earlier than expected," he said.
Juvenka ended up raising more than $2000 which, after Givealittle fees, was all gifted to the school.
While the memories of the ride were still fresh,Juvenka said he was already setting his sights on a similar ride in the South Island.
However, he had given himself a five-year timeframe to achieve the lofty goal with mum Fiona Hood keen to accompany him once again.
Mayor Justin Lester was on hand to congratulate the school on a "hugely impressive" effort and applauded Juvenka for his community spirit.
"I remember my years at intermediate. It's definitely where I learned to have an ethos around community service and how important it was to pitch in."
Got to spend this morning with students from SWIS, opening their new playground after it was closed for all of 2016 due to H&S regulations pic.twitter.com/E89KQbkEPQ— Justin Lester (@justin_lester) March 19, 2017
Principal Traci Liddall said it was exciting to once again have a safe, operational playground and the school was "indebted" to Juvenka for his help.
Next up on the to-do list would be to repave the area near the playground and add shade sails.