Gloria Nesbit of Georgetown said the new special needs playground at Kensington Elementary School means a lot to her 11-year-old daughter, Nijada.

Nijada, who is a special needs student in Trish Reed’s class, has attended Kensington Elementary since she was 3 years old.

“We are very grateful that the school now has a playground for these kids,” Gloria Nesbit said. “Nijada likes to be outside and she loves to swing.”

Alex Jernigan, a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 300 of Georgetown, held a dedication ceremony for the playground Monday afternoon.

The playground, which is the result of Jernigan’s Eagle Scout project, includes a swing set that accommodates wheel chairs, a fascination station which has a “waterfall of chains” for sensory stimulation, and more.

Jernigan has been working with special needs kids since the first grade when he would read books to them.

He is a freshman and member of the Navy Junior ROTC at Georgetown High School.

Taking all honors classes, Jernigan plans to pursue a career in medicine, he said.

Jernigan has also coached for the local Special Olympics.

Dr. Randy Dozier, superintendent of the Georgetown County School District, said he has watched Alex grow through the years.

“Alex has won just about every principal award and superintendent award during his school career,” Dozier said.

“You have never met a nicer, more dedicated or responsible student.”

He added that he knows this playground will serve the special needs students well.

“It is important for them to have access to a place where they can roll around on the ground or swing in their wheelchairs, and for them to have things they can touch and manipulate,” Dozier said.

Jernigan’s Eagle Scout ceremony, during which he will receive the coveted Eagle Scout badge, will be held at Kensington Elementary School on October 28 at 5 p.m.

By Clayton Stairs