They came to play — and to say “Thank you!” to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., whose allocation of $1 million in 2018 funded a brand new outdoor play space that was unveiled on Sept. 28 at Success Academy Bronx 2 Middle School.
Students at Success Academy Bronx 2 Middle School, along with kids from Bronx Writing Academy and JHS 22 Jordan L. Mott, will no longer be playing on a cracked expanse of cement. Instead, Diaz’s allocation has provided the 1,200 children from the three middle schools located at 270 E. 167th St., with an array of colorful and vibrant amenities: a brand new four square court, a full-length basketball court, a half basketball court and a jungle gym full of climbing structures and swings.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Diaz spoke to the students about the value of their new outdoor space.
“The allocation … is an investment in your future,” he said. “And, so the way you pay it back is that you grow up with all of your talents, all of your energy, with all of your swag, with all of your Bronx DNA, and you go conquer the world.”
Diaz grew up and attended school in the South Bronx, one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in New York City, where playgrounds were scarce. Success Academy brought the desolate playground at SA Bronx 2 MS to Diaz’s attention.
“Shame on me if as the [borough president], a son of the Bronx, knowing what transpired here when I was their age, if given the opportunity and the privilege and the honor to allocate money, shame on me if I didn’t step up in a big way,” Diaz said.
Sports are integral to Success Academy’s educational approach. Students learn basic soccer and basketball techniques starting in kindergarten, and can join school-based teams starting in third grade. They develop crucial life skills like teamwork and self-esteem, and the ability to go outside and play is especially important during this period of isolation and social distance.
“We are so thankful to Borough President Ruben Diaz for providing Bronx children with access to a beautiful playground and sports facilities,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy. “This is truly leveling the playing fields for our kids.”