The entire Randolph Elementary School family celebrated its new outdoor track Friday afternoon following several years of hard work and fundraising.
"It's really fun, and it will be really great for the school," said 10-year-old Sufia Kaddouri.
"It's awesome," said Douglas Murcia, 9.
The old gravel track made it easy to trip and get scraped up, they said.
"But this one is perfect. It's like a new road," Sufia said. "It's fun and squishy and bouncy."
The one-eighth mile track can be used for walking or running, and the kids play soccer in the grassy field in its center.
School officials began planning for the track in 2010, which was followed by two years of fundraising. Students would volunteer to stand in front of four different Arlington Harris Teeter locations on Saturdays and Sundays to ask customers to link their store discount card to Randolph Elementary. Total raised: $40,436.
The school and Randolph PTA also found partners in the Wednesday Morning Moms Club, the school's Girls on the Run program, Leadership Arlington 2011, the public school system, the Washington Forrest Foundation and the Douglas Park Civic Association.
A formal ribbon-cutting was followed by a ceremonial march around the new track, led by the Wakefield High School marching band.
"I do a lot of running — a lot," 10-year-old Jonathan Escobar told Patch afterward. "I love sports, that's why."
Principal Renee Bostick called the track "a first-rate instructional place for physical education.
Bostick opened Friday's ceremony by talking to the student body about the importance of perseverance in order to realize dreams: "You made the wish. You took the first step. You pressed on … and you made a difference," she told the children.
Check Arlington Patch this weekend for a photo gallery of Friday's celebration.