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Whitwell students sliding, swinging with joy

All of Whitwell Elementary's new playground is a big hit with its students - but the slides are are the clear favorite.

"Our old playground didn't really have a whole bunch," said Maggie Thomas, a 9-year-old third-grader. "I'm glad that we got it before I went to the fourth grade."

Thomas is not alone.

"My favorite is the squiggly slide because you can go around and around in circles," said Summer Shafer, a 7-year-old first-grader.

Savannah Bryant and Samantha Payne, both 7, like the slides because they can go down them fast.

Other students still use their imaginations even with the new equipment.

"I like it because we play tag and pretend," said Brad Jenkins, a 9-year-old third-grader.

Jenkins' classmate Justin Robinson, 8, said he likes to climb up the slides and pretend he is Spider-Man.

The one person who might be more happy than the kids to see the playground is Whitwell Principal John Maynard.

"I'm just excited because the kids feel like they've earned it," Maynard said. "They've got more to do than run in an open field."

This is just the beginning, he said. The main piece is there, but Maynard hopes to do more such as replace the blacktop, add a see-saw and another slide.

"I've had kids in the middle school, junior high and high school express gratitude for this," he said.

Maynard said this is something he has wanted to get done since the beginning of the year. When everyone gets together to do something, it gets done, he said.