There’s a story and a little boy behind the new bench in our playground. Jack Roberts was a member of the 282 preschool community who lost his life in an unfortunate accident. Today is the second anniversary of that day. The mosaic tile bench and the mural on the back of the school were created in his memory, and in celebration of his “especially big heart,” said his mother, Joanne.
“He would play with everyone and loved to give hugs. Every time Jack walked into that playground, he thought of it as a chance to play with new friends,” said Joanne.
The characters in the memorial mural on the wall were first drawn by the younger students at the school that year and brought to life by an artist collective, thanks to funds donated to the PTO by family and friends. Jack is in the mural too, in a Spider-Man costume, hugging his two best friends.
PS282 has “a very special place in our lives,” said Joanne. The family lives just up the block and used to walk Jack to school every day and help out their beloved teacher, Ms. Bethea, in the classroom. Jack especially loved making crafts and listening to stories with his friends. They danced together at the Halloween dance and presented “Where The Wild Things Are” for a class performance. That year it was a small bunch, just 11 students, and they were all close.
“We hope that the memorial and bench inspire kids to have an open heart and loving spirit,” said his father, Bill Roberts, “just like Jack.”
The bench now sits in the school garden right behind the jungle gym, offering PS 282 kids a place to sit, play, and make friends after learning about the water cycle, planting seeds and tending to new growth.
Please take a moment to remember Jack today and share his story.