For seven-year-old Hannah Crutchfield, the playground at George W. Julian School 57 was the best place in the world.
Months after the first grader tragically died, the Irvington neighborhood and school community are coming together to make sure the little girl’s favorite place will be upgraded in her memory.
Hannah died Sept. 14 when she was hit by a car while walking home with her mother and older sister. When they stepped into a crosswalk, a car struck Crutchfield, her mother, and a crossing guard.
Simply known as “Hannah’s Memorial Playground,” classmates, parents, neighbors, and teachers are working together to raise funds to renovate the school’s playground where the first grader spent so much of her time with school-age friends.
“The playground is important to my first-grade students and I because that is where Hannah flourished,” said Susan Adams, a first-grade teacher at the school. “She was always leading the class in games and activities. She was always ready with new and exciting games that included all of her classmates.
“After her death, it took several months for my students to figure out how to play without her guidance and enthusiasm. She left us with so many beautiful memories on the playground. To us it is the perfect thing to honor our friend and classmate.”
The George W. Julian Playground Planning Committee has set up the memorial fund in association with the Indianapolis Public Schools Foundation.
“George Julian is a small school, and Irvington is a close-knit neighborhood,” said Michelle Pleasant, PTSA President and committee co-chair. “Hannah was a little girl that touched the lives of so many people in our community. Her loss has been felt by everyone who knew her.”
Over the next few months, the playground committee will seek input from the young girl’s school friends – all of whom dearly miss their friend.
“Haley Lovan, our school social worker, mentioned that some 4th grade students were asking about redesigning the playground to honor Hannah,” Pleasant said. “They felt the playground spaces were feeling sad and boring. Maybe they could use some of the things Hannah loved, including her favorite colors, favorite animals, and favorite video games.”
Parent Robin Long-Jordan, who also serves on the committee, said the area has increased in importance as the COVID-19 pandemic has worn on.
“For the students, it’s a place they can be free and escape for a bit all the uncertainty we are all struggling with and being the place where so many have memories with Hannah, makes it a natural fit for how to honor her.”