It was a hot day outside despite the cloudy skies, as children, teachers and staff at Catholic Nazareth Academy filed outside and patiently awaited the blessing of their new playground.
Standing on the back steps of the school facing the large, colorful area were Sister Ann Meletio, administrator of the Academy of Nazareth; Bishop Brendan J. Cahill, Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria; and the Reverend Kristopher Fuchs, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Fuchs performed the actual blessing and prayer.
After the blessing and thanks for everyone’s hard work, the scouts raised the American and Texan flags, with school staff and students coming together in the pledge of allegiance for both.
A red ribbon cutting with big scissors came next, and then the excitement really started when the kids were released to try out the new area, which included a volleyball court, basketball courts, swings and climbing/sliding equipment.
It looked a bit like the starting gate of a horse race, as the children raced to their new space. The wide, green AstroTurf was spongy and springy for safety. Some of the kids were bouncing on it. There was lots of excitement, laughter and smiles as students of all ages ran from place to place trying out playground equipment.
Lynn Gisler, who teaches fifth and sixth grade English to speakers of other languages, said the children have been patiently waiting all year for their new playground.
“We had to keep them inside the gym during recess all year,” she said. “They couldn’t wait to get out here.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” said second-grade teacher Allison Arceo. “We so appreciate everyone who put in their time and hard work and everything.” She noted that not only was the playground beautifully landscaped, but they also added the iron gate surrounding the area.
With a little encouragement, Fuchs was joined by Reverend Dalton Ervin, the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, and tried the swings. Both impressed the kids with how high they could go.
Catherine Kohn is the editor of the Victoria Advocate. A lifelong journalist, she served as an editor in Florida and as a small newspaper editor in South Carolina.