New playground for St. Francis Xavier youngsters

New playground for St. Francis Xavier youngsters
Kindergartner Nina Gonzalez cuts the ribbon on the St. Francis Xavier playground with Principal Angela Deegan.
Photo by Josiane Bauke

St. Francis Xavier’s children have a new place to play.

The school held a ceremony after mass on Thursday, September 13 that saw Father Matthew Furey, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church and School, blessing the school’s new Dorothea Mann Playground with holy water, and then a ribbon cutting.

The new play equipment – including two slides, a rock climbing wall, rope climbing, rings and bells – was installed over the summer in time for the start of the new school year, said Furey.

The playground was named in honor of Mann, who left a substainal amount of money to St. Fracis Xavier School that allowed for construction of the playground, said Furey.

“We wanted to give them something big and beautiful for the school,” said Furey. “The reason it came about is that we had a bequest from a parishioner which she left for the ‘little children of the school.’ So we purchased a playground to do something beautiful for the school and as a gift for our children.”

The parish community tries to do something special to benefit the school each year, said Furey.

“We want children to love their school and enjoying coming to the school,” said Furey. “They get the best education here, and we want them to have fun as well, and hopefully it will be an attraction for the families in the future.”

Having “their own little playground” should make recess more fun, said St. Francis Xavier principal Angela Deegan.

“It is something that I really wanted for the children,” said Deegan. “It gives them something to play on instead of just being in an area where they just go out at lunchtime and just kind of play their own little games.

The playground is blue and gold with red trim – school colors – and teachers should be able to take classes out to it during the school day if time allows for it, said Deegan.

“It is something extra – most schools don’t have playgrounds,” said Deegan. “And I can honestly say if we were not left this money by Dorothea Mann, we would not have a playground either.” The money from the deceased parishioner being specifically set aside for small children allowed for the construction of the playground at a time when there is a greater emphasis on getting technology into the classroom, said Deegan.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

More from Around NYC