Halfway through the second School Pride Day event at Ralls County Elementary School and Junior/Senior High School from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, improvements and additions were on bright display — from the new path of painted Tiger paw prints leading to the elementary school to new playground areas being installed.

Halfway through the second School Pride Day event at Ralls County Elementary School and Junior/Senior High School from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, improvements and additions were on bright display — from the new path of painted Tiger paw prints leading to the elementary school to new playground areas being installed.

Superintendent Dr. Tara Lewis said widespread support during the summer of 2016 with moving equipment from the old Center Elementary School and New London Elementary School to the new Ralls County Elementary School culminated in the first School Pride event — making a natural progression for the second event to install playgrounds for the younger and older students, paint doors, perform landscaping and tackle other projects to make sure everything is ready for the coming school year. Lewis said she fondly remembered joining the district and witnessing the outpouring of community support from the first event, and she said that volunteers are again showing their pride in their schools and working together on a various tasks.

In Ralls County Elementary School, Lewis said about 95 percent of tasks were crossed off the list by noon. Among the improvements were a picket fence to hold students’ backpacks during breakfast and colorful slogans on the walls — “Be the reason somebody smiles today,” “Work hard in silence. Let success make the noise” and “Why fit in when you can stand out?”

Bright flowers, mulch and rock adorned entrance areas for Mark Twain Junior High School and Senior High School. Lewis said a majority of the work was complete by noon, as another load of rock and mulch was being delivered from Hannibal. The paw prints received a touch-up in front of the high school and there is a new trail of paw prints leading to Ralls County Elementary School.

School bus driver, mechanic and Pastor of Center Baptist Church Dan Peters showed where volunteers dug out areas for the swings, slides and other playground equipment. He said the playgrounds would turn out “really nice,” noting the ground had time to settle after the elementary school building’s completion in 2016. Faculty members and parents were not alone in their enthusiasm for the playground.

Third grader Kaylee Armour brought cookies for fellow volunteers, as she helped her mother, Jessica with tasks around the school. Armour won $200 for her school through Orscheln Farm and Home in Moberly, which is slated for sheds on each side of the playground to hold supplies. Armour said she is looking forward to the swings most of all. Fourth grader Rosie Peters said she was felt excited to have fun in the new playground, and the inspirational phrases and new picket fence for her school made an impact.

“It makes my school feel like home,” she said.

Her mother, Early Childhood Educator Julie Peters, said the volunteer efforts showed the dedication that staff members, family members and students have.

“I think one of the things it has reiterated from all of us working together as a community and taking pride in our school, and just being very prideful of the place where we come to work,” Peters said. “This is our school, this is our building, and we take responsibility for learning and making a great environment for that.”

Second grade teacher Jardel Stratton said students and faculty members were excited about the playground for fun activities, along with helping the children develop their physical strength after exercising their minds. Board member Ron Evans assisted several volunteers as they made sure a swing set frame was straight and level, as the group prepared to construct the main playground equipment with slides, monkey bars and a rock climbing wall. Evans said he appreciated the community support in getting the playground installed and new fencing set up, and he noticed that projects were going strong inside and outside of all the school buildings.

Mark Twain High School 2016 graduate Loren Carlisle said he enjoyed helping throughout the day. As he prepared to help assemble the large pieces of playground equipment, he explained why he was eager to lend a hand and show his school pride.

“I’ve been going here all four years of high school and junior high,” Carlisle said. “I just really like the school district and thought I’d come and help out, and get done what needs to get done.”

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com