Outdoor classroom built in memory of Milford's Halle Root

On Friday, Nov. 8, the staff and students of Mathewson School gathered in an assembly to receive a very special gift from the friends and family of Halle Root.

The Halle Root Outdoor Classroom was designed and constructed in memory of a kindergarten student who passed away last year.

The bright and colorful outdoor instructional space was designed with round seating areas, surrounded by a masonry wall suitable for students to sit upon and read, draw and engage in other academic activities.

A series of stars was embedded into the flooring area and filled with bright colors. The artwork came from an actual art piece Halle had created last year.

Funds to construct the playground came solely from the Halle's Hope foundation. Several benefit drives coordinated through the school and its Parent Teacher Association (PTA) helped support the decorating around the space.

Parents Marilee and Gary Root were on hand for the dedication and spoke to the former classmates of their daughter during the assembly. Speakers also included Principal Melissa Currier and PTA President Sherri Franzman.

The first grade students sang a favorite song of Halle's — Firework, by Katie Perry —  prior to moving outdoors for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Roots cut the ribbon to the new outdoor space, and then brightly colored balloons were launched. After the dedication, Marilee Root read a favorite story — Stars — to the class.

A large group of former teachers, principals and guests were also on hand for the program.

Principal Currier said she was honored to be a part of the ceremony.

“We are thankful to have had Halle as a member of our school,” she said. “The donation and generosity of this family will help instill the creativity and love of learning in all students — just like Halle demonstrated every day when she entered our doors.”

The Roots said it was a positive day at the school.

“We're hopeful that this space will provide years of fun and learning for many children,” Marilee said. “It encompasses everything Halle loved: School, learning, friends, outdoors and fun. Thank you for all the love and support from the Milford community that helped make the Star Classroom possible.”