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Revamped playground blacktop completed following Girl Scouts project

10/03/2019 2:00 PM |

Ronald Breuer of Cutchogue watched three of his granddaughters in Girl Scout Troop 864 dip their feet in blue paint on a recent Saturday and slowly pace down a path from the Cutchogue East Elementary School jungle gym to the new blacktop, leaving colored footprints behind.

Adorned with hopscotch boxes, four-square panels and a wraparound track, the new asphalt court near the school will now be accessible to all students.

Mattituck-Cutchogue district officials and North Fork Girl Scouts unveiled the new blacktop Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The play area was painted by the North Fork Girl Scouts Sept. 19–21 with help from Mr. Breuer, the project adviser, and school district faculty, Troop leader Beth Siar said.

Completing the blacktop served as a Girl Scout Silver Project for eighth-graders Amelia Siar and Jolin Chen. Both girls received awards at the ceremony for completing 50 hours of community service related to the project.

Amelia, Ms. Siar’s 12-year-old daughter, read a statement during the ceremony.

“What a humbling moment it is to stand here in front of this crowd of Scouts, young and old, to mark this very special occasion,” she said. “Today’s ceremony highlights, and is a tangible reminder of, our community’s passion and mission to inspire a lifelong passion for learning and help our kids become the best version of themselves with playful imagination and teamwork at the core.”

Superintendent Jill Gierasch speaks to the Girl Scouts. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

Cutchogue East principal Kathleen Devine said middle school students brought the idea to her in January. The students were eager to create something that would benefit the community, she said.

“It started from a little sketch on a piece of looseleaf,” Ms. Devine said, “and it evolved into giving back to the school.”

The Troop started fundraising for the assignment in late January, Ms. Siar said, and collectively raised over $1,500 to pursue the project.

Superintendent Jill Gierasch attended the event and thanked the Troop for their efforts.

“You took on a leadership role for adults,” Ms. Gierasch told them. “And you made it happen. This is incredible.”

In a separate interview, Ms. Gierasch said she’s impressed that the students had the vision and “took the necessary steps to see it through.”

The completed blacktop at Cutchogue East. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

“I love this kind of thing, especially when they can pull together, all kids, little and big, to make this happen,” she said. “The real test of this, and their recognition … is going to be when they see the other kids playing out here.”

Danielle Jacobs-Erwin of Matittuck said she assisted her two daughters, Heidi and Alison, with painting last month. She said she’s grateful to see the project come to fruition and believes the space will encourage creative thinking.

“This was just a black space and now they can be creative,” Ms. Jacobs-Erwin said. “They can use their imagination and be proud that they did this.”

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