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Groundbreaking of Inclusive Playground at McBride Elementary celebrates students, legacy

Groundbreaking with McBride community

In honor of a former SPS educator and in support of McBride's students, ground was broken for a new inclusive playground at McBride Elementary May 30.

Mr. Nick's Playground was named for a former McBride educator, Nick Hostler. Hostler was a special education paraprofessional at McBride Elementary School. Tragically, he died from a heart attack on May 30, 2018, and the McBride community has been honoring his memory in a variety of ways since his untimely passing. The inclusive playground, featuring play equipment for learners of all abilities, is one way to honor his legacy and commitment to students.

Shovels on playground

"Nick brought out the best in us, that's why we're all wearing T-shirts today that say #BeLikeNick," said Lael Streight, McBride principal. "Mr. Nick brought such love and compassion for all of our students and their families, and he had a gifted ability to connect with students and change lives. In partnership with his friends and family, we set out to make a difference for kids."

The new playground will be one of Springfield's largest inclusive playgrounds, with a committee of McBride teachers, Hostler family members and Nick's friends raising more than $500,000 for the inclusive playground.

"This isn't just for Nick, it's also meeting a need for our community for spaces that promote inclusive play," said Streight. "This will become the dream of our future, for all students to play together. We will never forget Mr. Nick, and his legacy and his dream of inclusion will live on."