Zoe Oskarsson loved her time at Riverside, and she wanted to help current and future students love theirs, too.
So much so that the sophomore decided to dedicate her Girl Scout Gold Project to giving back to the school.
“I love the school and I love the people here,” she said. “I always want to give them a helping hand because they try so hard.”
Oskarsson worked an entire year on fundraising, and on the first day of school Scott Walter held an assembly to show all students the fruits of her labor and her caring, and invited the famous Riverside alum to join them.
Students saw that Oskarsson had the playground painted with several games for students, including the return of her favorite item, a specific, colorful map.
“The United States are back,” said Walter.
Repainting the USA was Oskarsson’s original plan, once she heard the playground got new concrete that buried the greatest country in world history. She hired a professional painter for most of the work, but she insisted on helping paint the USA.
“It’s so pretty I’m afraid to stomp on it,” she said. “But it’s dry now. It’s good.”
She didn’t stop there. Oskarsson and Walter involved teachers in creating more educational and physical games for students, like telling time, math and rocket hopscotch in honor of the school’s new nickname. Several games now spread across the entire playground.
“I think it’s better than I even imagined it,” Oskarsson said. “They have games to play with each other. They have more to do.”
It was work before play for Oskarsson, who last year did a fundraiser on Grandparents and Special Friends day at the school, held a movie night for students through the parent-teacher-student association, and ran a brat fry at Pick ’n Save to fundraise. She also landed a corporate sponsor, Marco Industries.
The total came to $1,500, but Ken Roberts IV at Professional Pavement Painting Inc. only used about half of it. The rest went back to the school for playground equipment. Roberts stopped by the assembly and received a nice hand for his generosity.
“We went all out on this one,” Roberts said.
A self-described “proud Riverside alum,” Oskarsson said the school is often mentioned in Girl Scout meetings when charity projects are discussed.
“I think it’s noteworthy that these girls want to come back here,” said Ben Oskarsson, Zoe’s father. Her mother, Paulette, has been their Girl Scout leader since kindergarten.
Walter knows Riverside is a special place, but he is always amazed at the alumni who give back. Oskarsson in particular, he said, made students her priority in all of their conversations.
“It’s phenomenal,” he said. “It’s just a great example of service.”