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Hardin Park Elementary School Celebrates Ribbon Cutting of New Inclusive School Playground

Hardin Park Principal Mary Smalling and Student Body President Tucker Brown aid Cody Hicks in cutting the ribbon.

Students at Hardin Park were joined last Friday afternoon by Town of Boone officials, county and school leadership and other local stakeholders to celebrate the official ribbon cutting for the school’s new playground.

The ceremonies marked the culmination of the work of numerous volunteers, school employees, parents and citizens who dedicated hundreds of hours to planning, raising money and construction on the project.

Led by Principal Mary Smalling, the both marked the official opening of the playground and served as a lesson on ribbon cutting ceremonies for the school’s younger children.

Smalling said the project’s success was due to the wealth of volunteer work that dozens of people had dedicated to the playground’s construction.

I’d like to thank our many donors — from individual children and parents, to businesses — who went above and beyond with gifts of money, materials or time,” Smalling said. “Without the Town of Boone and county officials who allowed their employees to work on the project and the teachers who helped fund raise and patiently waited for its completion, our work would not have been possible.” 

Smalling also acknowledged the work of Watauga County School employees Brian Johnson, Hughie Johnson, and Jane Campbell.

“There are so many people that cared about seeing this inclusive playground become successful so that all children could have a safe place to play together — so many it would be difficult to name them all. Just know that, through the kindness and care of others, we now have the first totally inclusive playground in Watauga County.  It warms my heart every time I see children playing on it.”

Superintendent Scott Elliott, Board Chairman Ron Henries,
Hardin Park Principal Mary Smalling, Hughie Johnson, Brian Johnson, County Commission Chairman John Welch and James Pulliam with students Tucker Brown and Cody Hicks.
Smalling used the event as an opportunity to teach Hardin Park’s younger students about ribbon cuttings.