Three third grade students at East Side Elementary are using their lunchtime to make recess better for younger classes.

The screeching of the swings at East Side Elementary in Brownsville, Tennessee doesn’t sound too good. If you take a closer looker, it’s because they aren’t too good.

“You can’t swing on them. Only three (swings) are available that you can swing on,” said Destini Jones.

Destini, Chelsea Shields and Sami Dew spent their afternoons in third grade out on the playground.

“It’s really old and it’s kinda rusty,” said Shields.

Apparently, many of their parents and grandparents also played on the same playground at East Side Elementary. The monkey bars and play sets are now more than 60 years old.

“We were out there playing and a teacher of ours was talking about how she remembers being here, how all the stuff was old, and that gave us the idea,” said Dew.

“So, we came up with cookies,” said Shields.

Since April, these 8-year-olds have been baking and selling cookies to teachers and students at lunch. They are raising money for a new playground, and with the support of their principal, their idea turned into a sweet success.

“My only role was to get initial ingredients. They set the price, they sell at lunch, they collect money, and they turn it into our book keeper. They do it all,” said Tressy Halbrook, principal of East Side Elementary.

East Side is only for third and fourth graders. The girls may not be attending the school when the new playground is purchased and built, however they are certainly leaving their legacy.

“I feel like we are doing something good. I know (if) those kids have heard about it already, then they are excited to have a new playground to play on,” said Dew.

To build the playground from ground up, it will cost about $250,000, according to Halbrook. Right now, the goal is $25,000 for a few changes.

“I’d like if under the monkey bars (there was) maybe some pad and something that all students can play on,” said Jones.

“It can sometimes be dangerous, so we want to add safety bars and stuff,” said Shields.

So far, the playground pioneers have raised about $2,000, but they’re still working toward the change they want to see. That is something even grown ups can learn from.

“To approach me with such a fantastic idea and be willing to do the work to achieve a goal is wonderful,” said Halbrook.

“I’m excited for next year, and we will probably continue to sell cookies to fix the playground,” said Dew.

If you want to donate, please contact Principal Tressy Halbrook at