Ravenwood school dedicates playground to deceased student
NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo – Ravenwood Elementary School in North Kansas City is dedicating its new accessible playground to an alumnus special.
Alexander Esteban was born with Down syndrome and suffered three strokes in his lifetime. Amid the challenges of the pandemic, he died on February 16 after contracting pneumonia.
“Oh, Alex was a wonderful little boy. I was fortunate enough to be his mother for 15 years, ”said Regina Esteban. “He was just an amazing little boy. He loved music, he loved to dance, he loved to eat.
Alexander was the only son of his parents. He was born to Gabriel and Regina after years of hoping to have a child of their own. Even with all the physical barriers he had to overcome, his parents said that Alexander was still bright, kind and charismatic.
“He had a personality that lit up a room. People were drawn to him, ”said Gabriel.
Alexander suffered his first stroke at the age of seven due to Moyamoya’s disease. This caused the veins in his brain to narrow, making him prone to blockage. After his second and third strokes, he could not walk or speak and needed the help of a feeding tube.
“Towards the end of his life it cost him dearly,” said Gabriel. “It is the saddest experience to make plans to bury your own child.”
His parents hope to turn the page. A brand new playground, dedicated to their son by his old primary school, helps them look to the future.
The principal of Ravenwood Elementary School, Dr. Amy Casey, said 20% of the students she serves have special needs. She hopes the new accessible playground can create a more inclusive and safer environment.
Construction was made possible by a $ 155 million tax-free bond that was passed in June 2020. It has funded several projects around schools in North Kansas City.
“We have these big basket swings that we can actually help the kids out of their wheelchairs, help them in, so they can swing around and enjoy it,” Casey said. “There are a lot of rooms that are level with the ground with different games that the students can play.”
Although Alexander may not enjoy the new playground, his Ravenwood family will remember his dazzling smile and personality for years to come.
“While I was the principal here, Alex and his family deeply touched my life and the lives of everyone else here. So it’s a really special time for us, ”said Casey.
The playground will be one of the few playgrounds accessible to schools in North Kansas City. The official opening will take place on Friday afternoon.