During the winter, Mr. Dan and Anastasia came to Sunflower and pitched the project to our sixth graders. At the time, there was no concept as to where the logo and name would go. Students were shown logos and names of various skate parks in California. Then, students were let loose with ipads, papers, colored pencils, and most importantly, their creativity. By the end of the session, ideas started revealing themselves. Logos included roadrunners, Mount Signal, sand dunes, cactus, and snakes. Titles started emerging as well along the same lines. At this point, Mr. Dan and Anastasia took the students concepts to the El Centro Parks and Recreation for review.
About a month later, Mr. Dan and Anastasia came back with a report. The rec department really liked one of the concepts. One of the boys had come up with a name, Copperhead Skate Park. But instead of copperhead, it was decided that the copperhead was not a native snake to the Imperial Valley. The sidewinder was a native snake, thus the name, Sidewinder Skate Park. With the name decided upon, several students had included snakes creating a half-pipe as a design logo. The students were ecstatic!
The next session included an artist. The artist took the "copperhead" student and 4 other students that had snakes in their designs to start working on a logo. Together, they combined elements to create a workable design. With the artists rendering of the students concepts, the rec department was presented with a logo. A few modifications were made but, all in all, the design was original by the students.
We've all heard the phrase "labor of love." This project was truly just that. Eight years ago, Anastasia had a dream of a skate park for the Imperial Valley youth. Through years of grant writing, meeting with designers, and skate park architects her dream was finally realized. On Thursday, September 10, 2015, Sidewinder Skate Park was opened to the public. What a night! Hundreds of people showed up for the opening ceremony.
On behalf of the youth of the Imperial Valley, I'd like to say, "Thank you," to Anastasia for her dream of a youth skate park. It is sure to be a source of activity in El Centro now and for years to come. To the 2014-2015 Sunflower sixth graders, "Congratulations," for helping name and design the park and its' logo. To Mr. Dan and the Rainforest Project, "Job well-done," on the amazing mosaics that flank the entrance to the park.