An emotional rollercoaster for the Early High School Leadership Team ended with the Early City Council approving funding the remaining $13,600 needed for a proposed sound garden at McDonald Park.
A day after hearing a warehouse housing elements to its proposed $25,000 sound garden burnt down, the EHS Leadership Team had to scramble to find a new company to build the equipment for a proposed sound garden and present its new plan to the city council for approval in less than a day.
“We did it. I’m so excited … We wanted to involve the community,” EHS Leadership Team Member Zane Hobson said. “Nowadays, you don’t see a community, you see people not a team or a family. What impressed them was us wanting to bring everyone together. You don’t see unity nowadays. You see everyone splitting up because of their political parties or views. You don’t ever get to see people get together and say lets change this.”
A sound garden is small space in a park with elements where children can manipulate them to produce sounds. The sound garden is part of a project through the Texas Midwest Community Network group, which holds a statewide contest each year for students wanting to make a tangible impact in their communities. While appearing in front of the city council, Hobson said the project could be a major attraction for the city because the nearest sound garden is more than 100 miles north in Seymour and, given the exponential growth of the Alders Gate Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt, it serves a community that goes unrecognized in many other cities.
“We realize there is no other area for children with disabilities to go and play,” Hobson said. “You’ll go out to the park on a Saturday morning with your family and see your kids playing, but you will see that one kid on the side not being able to play. It’s not because they don’t want to, it’s because they physically or mentally can’t play. This will allow children to come together with children with disabilities, the elderly, everyone in the community can come together, play and enjoy themselves. Words spell, but music allows people the ability to express themselves.”
Throughout the summer, the EHS Leadership Team sought funding for its proposed sound garden and, until Tuesday, its largest contribution came from a $5,000 donation by the Comanche Electrical Cooperative Association. Considering overcoming adversity is one of the marks the EHS Leadership Team is graded by the TMCN, the EHS team seems a lock for a state title after having to scramble for a new sound garden manufacturer. Hobson and teammate Breanna Smith eventually found Percussion Play of Hampshire, U.K., the team hastily modified it’s proposal.
“It would be a long while before we could get the parts ordered because they would have to make it first,” Early Convention and Visitor Bureau Coordinator Denise Hudson said. “The equipment will be tuned very well so if you live in that area it will not be a disturbing sound. It will be nice, calm and soothing. It has a water resistant paint and will only need to be coated every 10 to 12 years.”
With the funding now in place the team will now turn its attention to the construction phase and hopes to have the project in place before the Sept. 14 Early Texas Showcase.
“It’s really exciting. I liked how we were able to get it done,” Smith said. “It was a lot of work and effort we put into it. To see it’s actually come through and working out is amazing for us.”