ACF17236

Courtney & Skye Buck Memorial Courtyard at Raft River Elementary

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  • Submitted by:

    Raft River PAC Executive

    Organization:

    Raft River Elementary School, SD #73

    Location:

    Clearwater, BC V0E 1N1

  • Idea Created:

    September 24, 2013

    Budget:

    Large ($100K - 150K)

    Community Size:

    More than 1,000

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Overview:

Raft River Elementary School stands for Respect, Accountability, Fairness and Thoughtfulness, an acronym which stands for our mission to foster social responsibility and to promote successful and healthy children and families in our community.  Courtney and Skye Buck lived that mission every day.  They were committed to the children of Clearwater and had a vision of helping all students be the best that they could be.

This wonderful couple travelled the world and chose to return to Clearwater when they became teachers in order to give back what they had received when they grew up here.  Not only did they exemplify the true meaning of community, but their actions, both in their jobs and in their volunteer work, showed what their true love was; spending their time working with children.  They both demonstrated a level of commitment and leadership that were amazing influences on the members of our school community.  It was a deep and tragic loss when they, along with their unborn son, were killed in a car accident in December of 2012.  For this reason, we want to establish an area that is dynamic, vibrant, and will be a tribute to these two young teachers who graced our community and whose spirit lives within us all.

Raft River Elementary school is located in the small town of Clearwater, BC.  It is a K-7 school serving students in the North Thompson Valley.   The school is almost at maximum capacity with over 300 students, but has only one playground area that was designed and built for the younger primary students.  The Parent Advisory Committee has been working on plans to redevelop the back courtyard of the school, which is the current intermediate play area, into a real playground for the older students.  

Rural towns are struggling for survival and funding.  Clearwater has been hard hit by the economic downturn to our primary forest industry, as well as dwindling numbers of tourists, which is our secondary industry.  With a community population of only 2,400 people, the prospect of being able to adequately raise funds for this project is daunting and though we are committed to doing it, it would take years before we could raise enough  money to complete the project. 

The back courtyard is located on the north side of the school adjacent to Candle Creek Road.  This area is currently not landscaped, and consists of two picnic tables, uneven pavement, 2 basketball hoops, and a small climbing feature.  As new families drive by the school to investigate the town as a place to relocate and live their lives, the courtyard is the first place they see enroute to the front entrance.  The area is not inviting or stimulating, and desperately needs to be improved!  The PAC presented designs of various types of equipment to the students and they chose a design that allows for creativity, physical activity, group dynamics and will create a positive environment for older students.  It will also be wheelchair accessible, and will be available to the entire community to use outside of school hours.

Studies show that children in the older age groups are quite sophisticated in their play activities due to their exposure to television, computers, video games and the internet.  Now more than ever, because of these indoor distractions and the pressures of school curriculum, kids need to get outside, get some physical exercise and just have fun!

The project will revitalize this area to include paving of court areas for hockey, handball and tennis along the gym wall area.  As well, new pieces of equipment will be located in the center of the area with lots of options for jumping, swinging, balancing inspiring kids to be acrobatics of all physical abilities.  There will be benches and sitting areas created for students to read or interact as well as greenscaping with planters and flowerbeds.


Not every community has local heroes, but Clearwater does.  It is our hope at Raft River Elementary to honour the lives of our two incredible young teachers and establish a legacy to their inspirational memory.   As Skye Buck said: "The only real failure is the failure to try and all we can do is get up in the morning and do our best.  Nothing else matters."

To this end, we ask you to vote and help us create a playground that will be every bit as dynamic and engaging as the couple whose memories we strive to honour.



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