Elementary school teacher’s passing inspires friends and family to build his dream playground for kids

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — An elementary school teacher passed away before he could make his dream of a playground for special needs children come true. The teacher’s friends and family are now working together to make his dream come true.

Around $100,000 more is needed to build ‘Mr. Nick’s playground.’ Mr. Nick was a special ed teacher, and it was always his dream to have his students in wheelchairs or in walkers to be able to play alongside their peers.

Mr. Nick’s mother, Mary Kay Hostler, says Mr. Nick loved his special education students.

“Once he had a little flavor of what special education was all about, that seemed to be his passion,” Hostler said.

Natalie Murdock with the foundation for SPS says the goal is to raise around 400 to 450 thousand dollars.

“Folks that still want to make a donation to help us reach our goal can donate on the foundation’s website,” Murdock said.

Mcbride Elementary School principal, Lael Streight, explains what the new playground will look like.

“So we will be removing that one piece that’s in the middle, and then that will be replaced with a 3,500 square foot new area,” said Streight. “Everything else will still be here, we will still have all the existing slides, all of our regular swings, everything will be exactly the same, we’re just enlarging it.”

Hostler says Mr. Nick would be thrilled if he knew this was happening.

“He would be hard-pressed to believe that we did this, he’d be like you guys,” Hostler said.

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