Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Project at Prendergast School in Ansonia stirs emotions

Playground built in memory of Sandy Hook victim; dedication set

ANSONIA - It has been almost two weeks since the start of construction of a playground at John G. Prendergast School in memory of Catherine Violet Hubbard.
She was a first grader who was among the 26 victims of the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Even though my colleague and staff photographer Peter Hvizdak was there I took several photos, because I planned to write a blog post. But I've had trouble starting it.

I had the honor to speak briefly with Catherine's mother, Jenny Hubbard, and to say hello to three other mothers whose children died on that horrific day.

Jenny Hubbard said she takes life "day by day."

She said she was glad her son, Frederick, 8, was able to play a big part in the playground construction. He was even named job foreman that day.

"He's doing it for his sister," she said softly.

Frederick Hubbard, 8, was more than ready that morning to start building the playground.
Ansonia Superintendent of Schools Carol Merlone, left, greets mothers of victims. 

Prendergast art teacher Danine Curtis draped a green and white paper-heart chain along the fence. Green and white are Newtown's colors.  

 Workers get ready for the build.

The playground is one of 26 that will be built in memory of the victims through the efforts of Bill Lavin, president of the New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association. He is being assisted by fellow firefighters, construction workers, family and friends.

This is the specially labeled truck that carried construction supplies from New Jersey.

 Frederick was still working hard with firefighters and other volunteers mid-afternoon.

 A ground covering will be added to the play area.

The official dedication of the playground has been tentatively set for 9 a.m. May 31, Principal Joe Apicella said.

Apicella joined the many volunteers and worked for hours that day to get the play area together.

He said a tire swing is on back order and will be a part of the playground.

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