School pupils are using the power of the written word to build a skatepark in the school grounds.
Teacher Gillian May said the pupils started to explore the use of persuasive letters to achieve a goal at the beginning of term two, and from there, their campaign to build a skatepark has snowballed.
Now they have the land, support from the school’s Board of Trustees and from the Nelson Creek Skateboards, a West Coast company that designs and builds parks.
They have also sought advice from Dallas Storer, who was instrumental in building Kaitangata’s skatepark.
The pupils, Blake Macdonald (12), Flynt Longley (12), Fredrick Houpapa (12), Jacob Deal (11), Max McTavish (13), Kurt Rhodes (13), Jenaya Thompson (13), Lanie Bell (12), Hannah Murray (12) and Kaitlin O’Neill (11), also held a public meeting in the school’s library this week after being advised to form an incorporated society so they could apply for funding.
Mr Storer was guest speaker and he answered many questions from the 20 adults who attended.
A committee of 12 plus the 10 pupils was formed and Ms May was elected chairwoman.
Sara McTavish was elected secretary and they are looking for someone with experience in finance and grants to be the committee’s treasurer.
“Students will also be working closely with office bearers to gain experience in the running of meetings and to continue their involvement in the project,” Ms May said.
She said the park was expected to cost about $100,000 and the committee would be investigating fundraising opportunities, one of which might be a “Give-a-little” internet page as suggested by the pupils.
Ms May said they had also written to the Clutha District Council, the Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board and the Lawrence Lions Club, as well as posting on social media and in community newsletters, seeking support for their campaign.
Pupil Hannah Murray said they also wrote to the school’s Board of Trustees. As a result, the pupils recently heard the Ministry of Education had agreed to allow the park to be built on part of the school’s grounds, near the pool and Educare.
“Having the Ministry of Education say we can use the land was our biggest win,” Ms May said.