katerina memorial playground
Young girl's dream lives on in Flushing's Katerina playground
FLUSHING, N.Y. (Oct. 22, 2010) -- Active six-year-old Katerina Tsiboukis always dreamed of having a playground at her school, but a car accident in July 2009 ended her life before she saw that dream become a reality. Now, her dream is coming true for other kids with the help of Empire Recreation and BCI Burke Playgrounds.
On September 11, the William Spyropoulos Greek-American school of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Flushing opened its brand new playground, aptly named “Katerina,” giving life to the six year old’s dream.
“We worked closely with Katerina’s father in order to turn this playground into a living embodiment of Katerina’s enthusiasm, and her outgoing personality,” said Ed Miller, president of Empire Recreation, who designed and built the playground. “She was an active child, and we wanted the playground to represent everything she would have loved.”
In accordance with that goal, the playground incorporates as much motion and activity as possible in the available space, according to Miller. It includes multiple slides, overhead events, and a satellite climber, and also features BCI Burke’s newest Intensity equipment, which combines traditional play with fitness-oriented activities.
But one of the playground’s most distinguishing features is the custom sign donated by Empire Recreation.
“The sign features a self-portrait and signature that Katerina drew just before she passed away, and is one of my favorite aspects to this playground,” Miller said.
“We very purposefully situated the sign just next to an eight foot slide that overlooks her old neighborhood, and the symbolism there is very touching. She will be forever looking down that slide, standing over what was once her dream and is now a reality for so many children,” said Miller.
To further perpetuate her memory, Katerina’s parents have founded a scholarship fund. In their words, the fund aims to, “encourage educational achievement and skill development by providing academic and athletic scholarships.” In June 2010, five scholarships were awarded to deserving students. For more information on the playground and this scholarship fund, log on to www.rememberkaterina.org.
BCI Burke, with headquarters in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, is a premier manufacturer of commercial playground, park, and recreation equipment. More information is available at www.bciburke.com.