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Handicap Accessible Swing Set Honors Late Clifton Preschool Teacher

An opening ceremony honoring Joann Zakrzewski was held last weekend at the Holster Park playground. Photo Credit: Contributed
A piano piece honors the late teacher at the park as well. Photo Credit: Contributed
Dozens turned out for a Holster Park ceremony Nov. 11. Photo Credit: Contributed
"She spent endless hours each day during class and after ensuring all the [kids'] needs were taken care of. She wanted to make sure they were not seen as kids with disabilities." Photo Credit: Contributed

A 31-year-old Clifton teacher's memory lives on with a brand new handicap accessible swing set across from the school where she worked.

An opening ceremony honoring Joann Zakrzewski was held last weekend at the Holster Park playground.

Zakrzewski -- a School 16 preschool teacher for children with special needs -- won the district's Excellence in Education Award in 2014. Two years later, she died of a pulmonary embolism.

"JoAnn had a very special place in her heart for children," her sister Janet Zakrzewska said. "She always put kids first.

"She spent endless hours each day during class and after ensuring all the [kids'] needs were taken care of. She wanted to make sure they were not seen as kids with disabilities."

Most of the funds for the playground were raised on a GoFundMe that garnered $12,000.

"This park will ensure that children with special needs have a place where they can come play, enjoy the swings and laugh," Zakrzewska said.

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