Lower School
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New Experiential Outdoor Classroom to Honor Memory of Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard

By Teresa Messmore, Director of Communications and Marketing
This article appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of the Tower Hill Bulletin

Corporal Stephen J. Ballard’s heart was as big as his smile. Prekindergartners knew it when he visited their classroom in the fall of 2016, gathering around him in a circle to listen and learn about his career as a Delaware State Trooper. 
Their conversation was part of a classroom unit on Super Heroes in the Community, and indeed, that is how Cpl. Ballard is remembered today. Tragically lost in the line of duty on April 26, 2017, Ballard was husband to Tower Hill parent Louise Cummings and stepfather to Abigail Lewis ‘30. His warm, giving nature touched all those who knew him, young and old. 
Cummings is honoring her late husband’s legacy through a generous gift supporting a new Lower School outdoor classroom. Deeply committed to Abigail’s education, Ballard shared an appreciation for learning and the outdoors. 
The outdoor experiential classroom will transform the empty lawn off the Tower Road entrance, next to the Stabler Building, into a dynamic learning center for Tower Tots through Grade 4. Young children learn through tactile, interactive experiences, and the outdoor space complements the Reggio approach adopted in Tower Hill’s preschool as well as the subjects of science, reading, art, music and drama throughout the entire Lower School. 
“We’re taking all of those special subject areas and giving them an expanded platform where kids can have hands-on experiences in a natural environment,” Head of Lower School Susan Miller said. 
Construction began last summer and is scheduled for completion this fall.