A New Playground is Built for Lower School Students
Anela Akana
Today, the Lower School celebrated the completion of the construction of their new playground structure, located on the field near Jubinsky Hall. The vision for this project was to provide a special place where students could experience joyous play while enhancing their overall health and well-being. “Play is often called the work of children as it is through joyful play that children grow, learn, and thrive,” said Ruth R. Fletcher, Ph.D., Head of School. “Playing is an essential component to leading a healthy life and, believe it or not, joyful play is one of the most important foundations of learning.”

Geared toward all students, the structure was built vertically to optimize the available space while incorporating components that are physically challenging to children of various stages of development. The structure itself is made from recyclable plastic that is both durable and weather-proof. Construction of the playground began during the opening weeks of school – all the while, students took note of its progress each day as they arrived at campus, eagerly anticipating the sweet day when it would be complete.

Alas, the day has finally come! This morning, the dedication of the new Lower School playground took place with a safe number in attendance in person – school administrators, church officials, and Lower School Student Council (LSSC) president and vice president – while the rest of the Lower School classes and their teachers watched remotely as the event was live-streamed via Facebook Live. 
 
During the ceremony, the class presidents shared how much the new playground means to the Lower School and expressed their gratitude to all of those who made it come to fruition.

“I personally really love being outdoors so receiving a new playground means a lot to exercise while having fun at the same time,” said Tahiwa “Kahula” Vaughan-Darval, The Priory LSSC President. “I am sure that with this new structure will come many new memories, great times, and so much fun for me and my fellow classmates here in the Lower School at St. Andrew’s.”

The students also spoke with such wisdom as they also expressed the importance of play, especially in these uncertain times. “Also, now more than ever, it is important to play outside and build friendships from six feet apart,” said Robert “Chip” Watts, The Prep LSSC Vice President. “And playing here builds school community to make it even stronger than it was before.”

The Atherton Family Foundation, G.N. Wilcox Trust, Episcopal Diocese of Hawaiʻi, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Matson, and an anonymous donor were gratefully acknowledged during the program as having made the project possible. “We so appreciate all of you and all of your support. Because of you, our students will benefit from the tremendous power of play,” said Fletcher as she turned the program over to The Right Reverend Robert Fitzpatrick (“Bishop Bob”) for his ceremonial blessing.

The program concluded with the untying of the maile lei that draped over the two slides that sit side-by-side on the structure. Vaughan-Darval and Watts perched at the top and then slid down with their arms lifted above their heads and smiles beaming through their face masks, as they exclaimed in unison, “Mahalo!”

See more complete photo gallery here.