Friends of Roxhill Invites Kids to Mural Planning Workshops

Friends of Roxhill Elementary (FoRE) is pleased to announce the selection of Henry Luke as the artist to lead our community mural project. To kick off the project and help develop our community’s vision, Henry invites youth ages 7 to 13 to a series of workshops in the upstairs meeting room at the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library from 4 to 5 p.m. on three upcoming Friday afternoons: May 18, May 25 and June 1. All kids are welcome — not just those from Roxhill.


Our goal is to create a long lasting piece of art that truly represents the history, culture, and aspirations of the people in the neighborhood who will see it every day. We are excited to work together with Henry to create a mural that reflects our hopes, dreams and visions for the future while making connections with each other.

The mural will be located at the concrete retaining wall at the corner of 32nd Avenue Southwest and Southwest Holden Street, along the street side of Roxhill’s new home at the historic E.C. Hughes Elementary. If you are an adult interested in participating in the mural design or volunteering to help paint the mural, please contact us at It will be painted this summer, after installation of our new playground.

About Henry Luke
Henry paints narratives that uplift the dignity of historically marginalized and underrepresented communities. Direct participation in grassroots people’s liberation movements has shaped their artistic practice, making their work inseparable from the great endeavor of creating a better world. Questions? Contact Henry Luke:





You’re invited to help build Roxhill’s new playground!

Roxhill Elementary invites you (yes, you!) to help us build our new playground at our new school — the renovated E.C. Hughes Elementary — on Saturday, June 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Two shifts will be available and no experience is necessary. We’ll have tools, refreshments and trained supervisors from PlayCreation to help us put together and install the equipment. Lunch will also be provided.

We are working on making childcare available on site (for school-aged kids). Children under age 17 may not be within the build-site. Students/children between 14 and 17 eligible for Service Learning Hours may assist with projects outside of the build-site under direct supervision of an adult.

We need two shifts of 30 people each.

Saturday, June 2

Shift 1: 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Shift 2: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sign up here.

We’ll also share more information soon on another community work day to move engineered wood chips in place.

Questions? Contact Friends of Roxhill Elementary at

The new playground for Roxhill students at E.C. Hughes will be open to the public in the fall. This project has been made possible by a Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Fund grant, and includes more than $50,000 of community match (including the work to build it!).

New Nonprofit Established to Help Support Roxhill Elementary School


[Download PDF of Press Release for contact info]

All-volunteer organization receives $100K Department of Neighborhoods grant to fund new school playground; also to focus on supporting classroom needs

SEATTLE, WA, Dec. 11, 2017 — In fall 2017, supporters, community members and parents of students at Roxhill Elementary established a new 501 (c)(3) organization, Friends of Roxhill Elementary (Friends of Roxhill or FoRE), to support the education and enrichment of the full-service public school along the southwest edge of West Seattle. With Roxhill Elementary relocating to a renovated, historic E.C. Hughes Elementary building in fall 2018, Friends of Roxhill decided to focus first on funding a playground where there was none. In November, FoRE was named a recipient of a Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Community Partnership Fund $100,000 grant. With this grant, FoRE will purchase and install a playground and mural at the E.C. Hughes site before the move in fall 2018.

“Next fall, on the first day of school, our students will be thrilled to begin the year in the newly updated building. And when they head outside for the first recess of the year, they’ll have all-new, modern playground equipment,” says Roxhill second-grade teacher and FoRE President Shawna Lystra. “As educators, we know that when we provide an environment children can be proud of, that pride carries over into their learning and their futures. This playground, and this new building, will help our kids feel good about their school and their community.”

Friends of Roxhill Elementary is focused on creating equal opportunities for the Roxhill community.

“Ensuring a welcoming and inclusive outdoor environment will provide a soft landing pad for our students, teachers, staff and families as we transition to a new campus,” says founding member and treasurer for Friends of Roxhill, Amanda Kay. “FoRE is committed to empowering our community by taking ownership and control of what happens in this large playground space.”

Besides the playground and mural, Friends of Roxhill is focused on developing ongoing fundraising efforts in support of the school, as determined by teachers and administrators and as needed by the school community. The organization has led an annual all-school fundraiser, dine-out partnerships with restaurants and on-site community events, such as parents’ night out.

“Because the organization is a standalone nonprofit, we can nimbly respond and seek innovative opportunities and ongoing partnerships, says Roxhill parent and FoRe vice president Jenny Rose Ryan. “As an all-volunteer organization with an elected, motivated board, we are driven by a desire to provide fast access to direct support for our school and by a belief in the power of our diverse community to work together for change.”

Friends of Roxhill Elementary meets monthly in the Harrison L. Caldwell Library at Roxhill Elementary. Learn more and support FoRE at Donations are tax deductible.


Friends of Roxhill Elementary supports the education and enrichment of Roxhill Elementary, a vibrant, multicultural public school in Seattle. Our nonprofit is focused on building equity for students in our underserved neighborhood through fundraising, community building and other projects important to our school. Learn more at or find us on Facebook:

Community Invited to Celebrate Roxhill Elementary Playground/Mural

Friends of Roxhill Elementary invites one and all to the grand opening ceremony for our Seattle Department of Neighborhoods-funded and community-built playground and a celebration of our new mural by artist Henry Luke on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 5:30 p.m. at Roxhill at E.C. Hughes. We’ll meet by the playground behind the school. Parents and school community members are invited to continue on to curriculum night.

On June 2, more than 75 people came together to put together and install the playground equipment. Then, over the course of the summer, more than 50 volunteers installed and laid the safety surface and wood chips, and Henry painted the community-designed mural. Both projects are public amenities because of how they’re funded — that’s right, we can all play on the playground now!

To make it all happen, Friends of Roxhill engaged in a public process to select the playground vendor and held an open call for artists for the mural. The projects had to each go through the Landmarks Preservation Board, with multiple meetings required to gain approval. The whole project required the work of hundreds of community volunteers to be successful—if anyone at any time had faltered, it would not have come together in the short time it did. If you worked on the project in any way, please come help cut the ribbon and celebrate! You helped make this happen!

If you can’t make the event but would like to support Friends of Roxhill in another way, Roxhill teacher, parent and FoRE member Shawna Patterson Lystra is running this November’s Seattle Marathon to raise money for the nonprofit. With a goal of $2,620 (like those 26.2 miles of the marathon), Ms. Lystra wants to raise money for field trips, materials and programs important for the Roxhill learning community. Check out her GoFundMe here:

Have questions about any of this? Contact Thank you for your support and generosity. See you on the playground!

Roxhill Art Contest!

Hello Roxhill Families and Supporters!

At this very moment I am staring at 6 prizes that will be awarded to our six Roxhill Art Contest winners, one from each grade! The contest theme was “What Roxhill Means to Me” and the Roxhill Stars totally rocked it.

Everyone who looked through the submissions was filled with incredible pride for Roxhill Elementary. The kids shared with us in their art work that Roxhill means Friendship, Safety, Love, Inclusion and Food.

As adults we often think of school as a means to an end or purely in academic terms, and this is valid, but the kids teach us that Roxhill has created a safe place that transcends the scholastic prototype. It is helping to create good humans that feel fed, included, noticed, important and cared for.

While there could only be 6 winners, all the submissions deserve praise. They will be presented in a slide show during a lunch hour for everyone to enjoy AND every single piece of art will be given to our mural artist*, so that they can use them for inspiration when designing the mural for our new school.

Super special thanks to Miss Michelle who made the contest happen!!! You are awesome!!! Another shout out to the 2nd grade, whose turn out for the contest blew out every other grade- woo hoo!

Till Next Time, Stars!

*The artist is still to be determined, but, just between you and I, we have received SEVERAL submissions from incredible local artists who are vying to paint our mural!



Join us for a community conversation

Next Monday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m., Friends of Roxhill Elementary will host a special presentation by teacher Mike Popelka on his Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching.

Last year, Mr. Popelka spent five months in the Netherlands learning about, thinking about and practicing ways to address disparities in education. How might what he learned be applied at Roxhill? Join us next Monday in the lunch room at Roxhill to find out, ask questions and share ideas.

Netherlands Photo for Flyer