New addition to school after fundraising effort from former students

BOSTON – Thursday, March 29, 2018 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined students, faculty and staff of the Rafael Hernandez K-8 Dual Language School in Roxbury for a ribbon cutting celebration of their new playground. The playground features a new synthetic turf field, permeable paving that will reduce stormwater runoff, and site improvements for the benefit of all students at the school.

The new playground is made possible thanks to students at the Rafael Hernandez School who advocated for a new schoolyard, built community support, conducted research, met with architects and brought their findings to the city. After meeting with students last April, Mayor Walsh announced that funding for the playground would be included in the city’s Imagine Boston 2030 Capital Plan, which set aside $1.25 million for improvements to the playground.

"I was inspired by the initiative students at the Hernandez School took in advocating for a better, more safe playground for all students to enjoy, and am proud that today we see their vision come to life," said Mayor Walsh. "These students had a big idea, and made it happen — we’re all proud of this great job done by our BPS students."

As part of the project, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) helped install an outdoor classroom to teach students about drainage and how we can improve the health of the Charles River by sending cleaner water into our sewer systems. BWSC has invested $280,700 towards the project.

"I am so proud of our students for learning how to collaborate with one another and advocate for positive change in their school community," said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. "Their efforts will not only make their playtime more fun, but it will benefit future students and the community for years to come."

"It’s been incredible to see our students, families, and teachers coming together to help make our school community better for everyone," said Hernandez School Principal Ana Tavares. "This was a truly collaborative effort and a positive lesson that will last a lifetime for these students."

"The community deserves a wonderful playground. We turned this playground into our legacy, and we can look back in the next 15 years and reminisce about what we have accomplished, and how many future kids will be able to enjoy what we worked so hard to do," said student Lorraine Sanchez.

For more information on the project, please visit here.


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