Board secretary Kenny Fernandez cuts the red ribbon on Moore's new playground.
By Reesha Brown
A child enjoys Moore's new playground.
Through generous donations from Pasadena businesses and community members, Moore Elementary officially cut the ribbon on the school’s new playground, Oct 22.
“We are so thankful to finally have a playground at Moore that our students and community can benefit from,” Jill Lacamu, Moore principal said. “Our playground would not have been possible without the help of Kasie Fernandez and the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.”
With El Franco Lee Park in close proximity to the campus, the school initially faced challenges receiving grant funding to build a playground in the neighborhood.
“The park is basically in our backyard, but it is located on a busy street, there are no sidewalks and the main entrance is about half a mile away,” Lacamu said. “We needed our own playground that students could access safely and use on a daily basis.”
Passing by Moore on her daily commute, Fernandez, Memorial’s P.E. and volleyball coach, recognized the need for a playground and eventually decided to take action.
She teamed up with the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce to raise funds through their annual Taste of the Town event and the Rugged Race. Funding from the race, which typically garners $10,000 for a playground and fitness equipment, was not able to meet the lofty $30,000 price tag for a playground.
“We reached out to the Chamber for help,” Fernandez said. “We wanted to take this on through the Rugged Race, but the Chamber made this project into a huge success.”
As part of the Taste of the Town, guests have an opportunity to bid on live auction items. One of these auction items is traditionally a mini-grant project that was unfunded by the education foundation, but the chamber deems as a worthy cause. This year that mini-grant, totaling $29,000 in cash donations, was for the Moore playground.
“I was floored,” Fernandez said. “I went to L.F. Smith and we didn’t have a playground, but I wish we did. I thought about how these students must feel. I didn’t want them to have to wish for a playground, knowing there was something I could do to help.”
As founder of the Rugged Race, which attracts hundreds of students and families each year to participate in a 1K and 5K obstacle course, Fernandez has been on a mission to equip every elementary campus in the district with a playground, starting with Moore.
“As a P.E. teacher, I know how important it is for students to be active,” Fernandez said. “Playgrounds provide kids with the opportunity to exercise and learn important social skills, in a fun environment.”
Unavailable to cut the red ribbon herself, Fernandez’ husband, board secretary Kenny Fernandez, stepped in on her behalf.
After the ribbon cutting, students rushed to the playground with their parents to enjoy their new safe play space.
“Moore is fortunate to be the recipient of these donations and the impact it has made for our school is evident by the students’ smiles and laughter as they play,” Lacamu said.
Thanks to donors B.J. Dorsett, Dorsett Brothers Concrete Supply, Inc; Corkey Turner, Casa Ole-Deer Park; Robin Howington; Liz Olivarez, State Farm Insurance; Dusty and Cindy Davis, Lonestar Promo Products; Kevin Jeter, Miles Service Corporation; Kenny Fernandez, North American Shipping Agencies; Shayla Northcutt, Northcutt Travel Agency; Gloria Gallegos and Jack Bailey, Pasadena ISD; Roger Despres, Power-Mark Resources; Shelley Squires; Richard Smith and Sue Maceiras.
Fernandez and Moore principal Jill Lacamu celebrate the installation of the new playground.