Leslie Webster often said that recess was one of her favorite times of the day because it was filled with unexpected moments of joy and discovery. So what better way to remember a beloved Colorado Academy Kindergarten teacher than marvelous new Lower School playgrounds with two different play structures bridged by an area of decorative boulders, music-making, and a peaceful place to rest.
After a year of patient waiting, with more than 300 student-submitted designs, and lots of hard work, the playgrounds were officially opened on the second day of school in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that reflected Mrs. Webster’s love for her students and her belief in always showing genuine gratitude.
“For my mom, this playground was everything,” said Maddie Webster ’16, who spoke to a gathering of Lower School students, faculty and staff, and members of the CA community on behalf of her father, Stephen, and sister, Carolyn. “She was able to watch both me and my sister grow up here, and she was able to meet other parents of other students who would become lifelong friends.”
Lower School Principal Angie Crabtree, who supervised every detail of the new spaces and included all Lower School students in the planning, thanked the many people who made the playgrounds a reality. She gave special mention to Kindergarten teacher Christine West, who restored a flower garden in honor of Leslie, including several plaques with heartfelt quotes from students: “She had a love of life, a passion for children, and a heart of solid gold.”
Crabtree also acknowledged the dedication of Ian Marzonie, a member of the CA Operations staff, who worked tirelessly to supervise every aspect of the playgrounds project.
“Leslie Webster was someone who recognized the goodness in others and took the time to extend a thank-you to those around her for the big things and the small things too,” Crabtree said. “We are so thrilled to have our new outdoor play areas to remember, celebrate, and honor the life of our friend and teacher.”
Dr. Mike Davis, Head of School, called the play spaces “Leslie’s legacy…a space to honor her amazing impact at CA.”
“From our students who gave their allowances, to our families who provided lead gifts, each of you played a significant part in CA having these wonderful new areas,” Davis added.
So yes, what better way to remember Leslie than in playgrounds which transform the Lower School corner of CA. “I hope that as new memories are made here, for both teachers and students, the playground will serve as a reminder of my mom and her love for her students and the faculty here at CA,” Maddie told the Lower School students. “I hope it will remind you to lead with a smile, just as my mom did, and to never stop learning and exploring.”