Alex’s Way in for spruce up

By Mark Squibb/March 17, 2022

Students and staff at Topsail Elementary are busy raising money that they plan to put towards Alex’s Way, a special outdoor area commemorating Alexandria Mercer, a nine-year-old former student of Topsail Elementary who passed in 2002 after a battle with brain cancer.

Nancy White, the school’s Phys Ed teacher and chairperson of the Outdoor Committee, is helping lead the project.

“Basically, I’m the one who one looks for all the grants and applies for grants to see how much money we can get for our school,” she joked.

Last year, the committee hosted a Dance-A-Thon to raise funds for a new inclusive playground, to be installed this May.

As the Dance-A-Thon was a success, the committee decided to hold another one this year, with proceeds going towards upgrading Alex’s Way.

“Alex’s Way is the most special place at our school,” said White. “The kids absolutely love it down there… It’s like a little forest in the middle of town. It’s really important to us that we keep it pristine and to make improvements there. Because it is definitely the most loved area of our school grounds for students, and for staff too.”

White said it was important from the beginning that Alex’s parents Bernie and Louise, who also lost their son Riley to brain cancer and have since fundraised tremendously in both children’s name, greenlight the projects. When she approached them about it, both were onboard, and Louise recorded a video to be shared with students about the history of Alex’s Way, and the little girl it memorializes.

“Our students say Alex’s name here on a daily basis, and now they really know who she was,” said White. “I think it’s really special that Louise and Bernie can be a part of this.”

Planned upgrades to Alex Way, which was created in 2010, include removal of rocks and stumps, drainage improvements, an addition of a new bridge, new, accessible stone and gravel trails and walkway, new mulch, outdoor classroom areas, as well as seating and a chalkboard.

Folks who wish to donate can contact the school directly, or get in touch with any family that has children attending the school and donate through the student as a sponsor.

White hopes to hold an outdoor, school-wide, kick-off event, followed by a week of dance-a-thon events to be held during gym classes — with disco balls and glow sticks included.

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