Students awarded with ice cream

Sweet treat — Iliana Salinas, right, and Arianna McNeil, left, second-graders at Hill City Elementary, enjoy ice cream with toppings from Turtle Town Hill City. [PN Photo/JEFF SMITH]


On May 5, students from Hill City Elementary were able to enjoy ice cream before their recess due to their fundraising efforts. So far, around 50 students have been participating in the fundraiser for the new artificial turf on the playground.

Fundraising for artificial grass in their playground began on May 2. Students reportedly spent time hauling wood, doing dishes, pooper scooping, reading, picking up trash and sweeping sidewalks. The original plan was to have an ice cream party sponsored by Turtle Town Hill City for students who raised $25 by May 5.

Gavin Buchholz, fifth-grader at Hill City Elementary, said he did work at Dairy Twist during his first week of fundraising.

“I picked up trash in the yard and cleaned tables,” Buchholz said.

He raised $20 for the week and said he plans to work at Big Thunder Gold Mine to raise more money.

“I want to do it so other kids can have fun playing on the field,” Buchholz said.

The plan is to raise $40,000 for artificial grass on the playground which will last for many years to come.

On May 4, something changed when the students were spring cleaning their playground and were caught “doing good” by Rushmore Forest Products, Inc. The students spent time during recess raking and picking up trash or other items in their playground. RFP Inc. wanted to recognize all the students for their efforts so they donated $5,000 for all of the students to enjoy ice cream from Turtle Town. Turtle Town served over 200 cups of ice cream on May 5 for students to enjoy.

“It’s super awesome Rushmore Forest sponsored all of them so they can feel like they provided to the cause,” said Chris Busby, regional manager of Turtle Town in Hill City.

RFP set the standard for businesses and now others will have to follow suit, Busby said.

He said students will be able to come back to Hill City in the future and say they raised money for the playground.

Crystal Wiese, organizer of the fundraiser, said there was no hesitation by Turtle Town when they were asked to fulfill the need of an ice cream party.

Karen McKee, Kindergarten teacher at Hill City Elementary, said the children like to help even though they may not be sure what they are going to do.

“They are excited to help and excited to be cleaning up,” McKee said.

Kaylee McCoy, kindergartner at Hill City Elementary, said she got to be a picker-upper on the spring clean-up day and her parents also gave her money to clean her room.

She was glad when she heard the company gave $5,000 so everybody could have an ice cream party.

If anyone would like to contribute, checks can be dropped off at First Interstate Bank of Hill City or contact Crystal at 605-391-1221.