Pre-K students at Smokey Mountain Elementary School are enjoying a new playground thanks to funding provided by the Carolina Panthers, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and local donors. The fundraising effort was initiated by Pre-K teacher Brynn Green.

“The playground is a major component of our Pre-K program,” Principal Tracie Metz said. “It’s important for children to have daily active play and to do so within a safe environment. I’m so proud of the work Mrs. Green and our Pre-K team have accomplished to ensure such an outstanding learning environment for our students.”

The Pre-K program at SMES was relaunched during the 2018-19 school year, but the playground needed some additions to meet the safety standards recommended by the North Carolina Prekindergarten Program. Green applied for and received a $5,000 grant from the Carolina Panthers. Local donors provided the remaining funds needed to complete the project.

“SMES and the Pre-K team are so very grateful for the wonderful donors, community members, parents and students who made our new outdoor learning environment possible,” Green said. “We are especially grateful to the Carolina Panthers. Their funding support ensures that students will enjoy gross motor play and active engagement for years to come.”