By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Although some children have returned back to in-person classes this fall, the school environment is just not the same. For the youngsters at the J. Harding Armstrong Elementary School, that meant they could no longer play on their beloved playground. But thanks to the kindness and generosity of a local company, CertaPro Painters of Shrewsbury, the kids now have a beautiful, colorful obstacle course painted on the school grounds that they can enjoy safely.
John Mendes, the school’s principal, explained that due to COVID-19 concerns, the school’s playground equipment was not deemed safe for the kids to use. And normally the school’s PTO, often so generous, would help raise funds for extra projects and activities. But the coronavirus has affected their efforts this year as well. So when Raymond Valdez, the owner of CertaPro, stepped in and offered to donate his company’s services to paint an obstacle course for the school, Mendes was thrilled.
“This was such an incredible gesture,” he said.
“We were excited to do this,” Valdez said. “It’s something different from what we normally do. It was a way to use our creativity and challenge ourselves, too. We hope the kids will love it.”
The crew first power washed the asphalt next to the playground before stenciling the pattern Mendes and his team had designed. Using paint donated by Nal’s Paint Center, they then painted the course, (although it was a bit delayed due to inclement weather, including a surprise Oct. 30 snow storm). But finally the work was completed, to the delight of the entire school community.
“We are so grateful to Raymond and his team for donating their time for this project,” Mendes said. “This is so important for the kids to have this done for them – it’s definitely adding some fun and excitement to this very different kind of year!”