Oliver Elementary’s assistant principal Curtis Jernigan died Dec. 21, 2008, during open heart surgery from complications of a bleeding ulcer.
Thursday afternoon in Seale, Ala., about 400 students, faculty and family members held a dedication ceremony to unveil the new Curtis Jernigan Memorial Playground.
His widow, Rosia, and their 3-year-old granddaughter, Tiffany Marshall, were the first people to take a ride down the slide.
“He loved Oliver Elementary School and he just loved working around here, and every morning he would meet the children with a smile,” said his wife of 40 years.
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About $20,000 was raised over the last six months to pay for the construction of the playground and the memorial plaque. While much of the donated money came from the Jernigan family, other donors included TSYS and Russell County School administration personnel.
This part of the playground is phase one of three, with plans to add on to the modern design as funds become available.
Principle Brenda Coley added: “We’re just excited, and it’s a reflection of how many people loved him.”