A new playground that will allow students of all abilities to participate is being built at McBride Elementary School in memory of a teacher who died two years ago.
“Mr. Nick’s Inclusive Playground” is in the memory of Nick Hostler, who died in 2018 from a heart attack. Hostler was just 35 years old.
“Nick looked at his students and he only saw the possibilities that they had,” McBride Principal Lael Streight said. “He never saw the limitations. He celebrated what each child could do and he loved to share that with everyone.”
Streight said that it was only two weeks into Hostler’s first year teaching that he came to her to ask about getting playground equipment that his students could use.
“Looking back, I realize it took everything he had to wait two weeks,” Streight joked.
Streight said they started talking to private donors and after a year were able to install two adaptive swings on the playground. She said that’s when they realized that would not be enough.
Hostler’s parents, Gil and Mary Kay Hostler, were at the groundbreaking ceremony for the playground and shared memories of their son.
“Nick always had a way with people, especially a way with children,” Gil Hostler said. “He made differences in these children’s lives, his special friends as he would call them. There was always a positive aspect, trying to show you what they could do.”
Mary Kay Hostler said that playground will have a lot of equipment available for all children of all abilities including a zip line.
McBride Elementary shares their space with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and McBride Park, so the entire community will be able to have access to the playground.
Financial donations can still be made to offset construction of the playground, which is anticipated to be ready in August 2020. Donations can be made through the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools.
(Headline photo Gil & Mary Kay Hostler)