For the first time since last May, students at École Edwards Elementary School will have a playground to use once again.
In early October crews began construction on a new playground that now occupies the site of the old playground that was intentionally set ablaze last May. The significant damage sustained to the old playground necessitated a totally new playground to be built. That effort culminated in a grand opening on Nov. 8.
“It’s important to reflect on the journey that brought us to this moment,” said École Edwards principle Rachelle Prud’Homme to an audience of students, staff, and parents at the playground’s grand opening. “The fire that consumed the playground was heartbreaking and completely unexpected.
“The loss of our playground was felt by everyone as this is a place for joy, laughter, and fun,” she added.
With the playground gone, teachers and staff have had to find alternative ways to keep students occupied during their breaks.
“I have a kid who was in grade 1 when they had the fire, and then a kid started kindergarten this year and they were so bummed when the fire happened,” said Darcy, a parent of two École Edwards students. “They’ve been counting down the days after school, [and] we had to check the fences and see how the build was going, and yeah they’re very excited.”
Prud’Homme credits the community for helping the school through the difficult time they experienced post fire.
“The true strength of our community and our school emerged,” said Prud’Homme. “We belong to a community that rallied together during difficult times. We cared for one another [and] ensured that the well being of our students remained a priority.”
The students in attendance at the grand re-opening sat in rows in front of Prud’Homme as she gave her speech. They could hardly contain their excitement and anticipation of being the first group of students to use the new playground.
“The students have been so excited,” said Michelle Cyrzan, a grade 1 teacher at École Edwards. “They’ve been watching it being built…and everyday they come out for recess they look at the new growth and have been so excited to see it finished.”
Prud’Homme stated in her speech that the new playground’s opening represented a symbol of the community’s shared strength and commitment to the well-being of the students at École Edwards.
“Moving forward, as our students get to explore, play and enjoy the new playground, we always remember that this is a place of belonging and care,” stated Prud’Homme. “We look forward to our students doing their best and growing more independent each day as they learn to take care of this new park and each other while they’re playing on it.”