Special to Iredell Free News
Margaret Mead was right when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
On Wednesday, a small group of friends, neighbors and co-workers got together for lunch and raised $74,000 for the Lakeshore Elementary School playground.
Lillian Johnson, the founder of Everyone Counts in Iredell County, hosted the third annual Everyone Counts in Iredell County Kentucky Derby Luncheon at The Saddle Club at 1791, a private club located on Brawley School Road. The purpose of the luncheon was to assist in raising funds for a new playground at Lakeshore Elementary School.
Guests came donned in spring dresses, bow ties, and derby hats to enjoy lunch. The day was sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement, Dr. Tony Johnson, Cooke Rentals, The Saddle Club at 1791, Willow Branch Floral and Decor, Queen City Pastry, N.C. Senator Vickie Sawyer and The Temple Team – Keller Williams.
Following lunch, guests were welcomed by Lillian Johnson. The group then heard from Chris Grace, the principal at Lakeshore Elementary. He explained that the tremendous growth along Perth Road and Highway 150 had resulted in a recent six-classroom addition at the school.
“The new wing is beautiful, but our playground was displaced, and our students have been without a playground for about a year and a half,” he said.
Grace told the crowd that he shared with a kindergarten class that he was going to a luncheon to get them a playground.
“The kids absolutely exploded with cheers,” he said.
Following lunch and a silent auction, guests were invited to make donations to the Lakeshore Elementary playground. After just two hours, the group raised $37,000. The surprise of the day came when executives from Lowe’s Home Improvement announced that any money raised during the luncheon would be matched by Lowe’s Home Improvement.
“We are so humbled by this donation,” stated Iredell-Statesville Schools Chief of Strategic Planning and Student Services Boen Nutting. “It’s been quite a ride the last few years, with many bumps and turns in the road. When Lillian reached out to let me know they were throwing a party again that would benefit our public school system, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. We are so blessed to have the support of our community. We can’t wait to get that playground built!”