Photo by Ann DeCerbo
Photo by Ann DeCerbo

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NORFOLK — Over the summer, members of The Botelle School’s PTO along with members of the community rehabbed outdoor space at the school to create an indoor playground for students.
The 6,200 square foot space was previously used as a recess area more than 20 years ago.
“They stopped using it after the playground was installed at the school,” Norfolk Board of Education Chairman Ann DeCerbo said in an interview with The Winsted Phoenix. “For many years it became a storage space at the school, then it went unused for many years. With everything changing in the world and so much going on, we had the idea of recapturing the space and having an area that’s both inside and outside. You get fresh air at the playground but it’s sheltered a little bit.”
Members of the community painted the area vibrant colors, also painting four-square games, hopscotch boards, and kickball areas in the playground.
“We also painted some picnic tables that weren’t being used at the school that was going to be discarded,” DeCerbo said. “It’s a way to change the feeling of the space and give students something to look forward to.”
The painting project was undertaken by residents Sarah Fiester and DeCerbo, with support from Lisa Bazzano, Kailyn Nadeau, Joy Benoit, and their children.
The picnic table project was undertaken by the Byrne family, Norfolk Fire Department, The Norfolk Congregational Church, John DeShazo, and Jenna Brown.
The projects are just two of the many projects the PTO and community members have undertaken over the summer.
At the end of the last semester, the 6th grade class at the school raised money, along with the PTO, to install a special water fountain at the school that fills water bottles.
The fountain was installed by plumber Kurt Olson and electrician Shawn Finney.
The PTO also worked hard on rehabilitating the school’s garden with members Jenna Brown and Lisa Bazzano taking the lead on the project.
Also, at the Norfolk Early Learning Center’s summer camp, campers made personalized masks for elementary school students, along with lanyards with their names on them.
“I feel very proud of our community,” DeCerbo said. “I love our little town and how we meet challenges outside of the box thinking. This is a great way to start the school year.”

All photos and video by Ann DeCerbo