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A New Playground Shade for Myrtle Beach Primary

Ribbon Cutting Photo

On Friday, September 16th, Myrtle Beach Primary School (MBPS) celebrated the installation of its new playground shade. Members of MBPS’s Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) applied in the spring of 2022 for a $10,000 grant from The Chapin Foundation, a grant provider to numerous organizations in and around Myrtle Beach. The PTO raised the remainder of the roughly $15,000 cost to purchase and install the shade, which is supposed to be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. 

The shade stands over several tables in a paved portion of the school’s playground area that is frequently used for recess, school events, parties, outdoor classroom time, and story time. Several students attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony with books in hand and sat under the new shade. Most of the playground area is unshaded, and former PTO president Kim Mangum said, “It gets so hot out here; the students needed a place they could go to cool off while they’re still getting fresh air outside.”

Principal Michelle Greene-Graham and Assistant Principal Tuletia J. Rivens welcomed several notable community members to the ceremony, including Horry County School Board member Tracy Winters; The Chapin Foundation’s Executive Director, Tory Mackey; and current and former MBPS Parent-Teacher Organization members.

As part of the ceremony, Principal Greene-Graham explained that the shade “has been three years in the making.” Every year, she said, the PTO asked what it could do to help the school, and every year she replied that the playground needed shade. “Last year, the PTO was dedicated to making that happen,” she explained. They had hoped to install the shade before the end of the 2021-2022 school year, but delays in shipping and manufacturing resulted in the installation being pushed back several months. 

Chapin Foundation Executive Director Tory Mackey, as part of the ceremony, said that founder Simeon B. Chapin’s dream was “to improve the quality of life for everyone in Myrtle Beach.” She went on to say that she feels installing the shade at MBPS helps fulfill that dream, adding, “I love to see a place where you can read, learn, and grow, and have a little shade.”

The Chapin Foundation typically provides grants for non-profit organizations sponsored by a church or religious institution, but Mackey said, “The children have been through so much with the Covid situation. As a society, we’ve learned about the importance of outdoor space, and we wanted to do something for these kids because they’ve been through a lot.” She went on to add, “We saw an opportunity to work through one of our church partners to make a difference in the kids’ experience,” and also said, “It’s wonderful to see such a concrete example of Chapin’s legacy in action.” Mackey clarified that they worked with First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach to provide the grant for the shade.

Second-grader Fuat Zhuta, a student at MBPS, also spoke as part of the ceremony, thanking those who had worked hard to help bring the “awesome” shade to the students. Afterward, Zhuta explained the students’ enthusiasm for the installation: “When they get super hot, they can just chill under here.”

After the ceremony, students ate popsicles and enjoyed time on the playground and under the shade while guests enjoyed refreshments in the school’s Carolina Room.