Back to School With Gracie's Gift
Photos/text by Renee Burrell
Father Malley (pictured) led the Purdy family, students, and guests at the ceremony around the play ground as he blessed the new equipment.
CLEARWATER - St Cecilia School children gathered on their school playground Tuesday morning for a special dedication ceremony. With prayers and music and a lively blessing, new playground equipment donated by the Purdy family of Belleair in memory of their daughter, Gracie, was unveiled.
Gracie Purdy passed away at age 5, due to a brain stem tumor.
Attendees were greeted by St Cecilia students who passed out cards with the following message from the Purdy family--Martin, Llisiana and their son, Nolan:
Is a celebration of our precious Gracie and for all the laughter, love and joy she brought us during her short stay. It is our hope that the children of St Cecilia School will enjoy this symbol of the spirit of our beloved Gracie, having spent many hours here playing after school waiting for the day she would join her big brother officially at the playground. Remember Gracie with a smile.
When asked by her pre-school teacher to complete this sentence, 'When I go to kindergarten, I can't wait to...' Gracie's response was, '...play on the playground with my brother Nolan.'
We are so grateful to Gracie's loving grandparents Wayne and Atala Purdy and Grandma Rosita, thank you for helping make this wish come true. A special thanks to our dear friend Bob Deegan of Belleair Palms and his crew who planted trees all throughout the campus (look for Gracie's bows) along with Gracie's Tree and also beautified everything around Gracie's Gift. The depth of Bob's heart and generosity is not measurable. To Glen Grieves and his staff who worked timelessly to get this project done, thank you. From the beginning of this project Joe Miller and his wife Susan Miller of Miller Recreation have made this experience a joy and a pleasure. They are one of a kind, also to our installers Rich Falkowski and his brother Nick who installed Gracie's Gift and took such care and worked diligently to get it ready for today, thank you. Every step of this project has gone smoothly and we can't help but feel that Gracie has been helping and orchestrating this project from heaven all along.
Father Ken Malley, of St. Catherine's in Clearwater, and Father Patrick Irwin, of St Cecilia Church in Clearwater, conducted the dedication ceremony Tuesday morning at St. Cecilia School.
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