News and Information

December 6, 2011

Students Get A Free Skating Adventure At Franciscan Polar Plaza

About 60 students from McCarver Elementary School in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma will enjoy an afternoon of holiday fun with free ice skating and hot chocolate on Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Franciscan Polar Plaza in downtown Tacoma.

Franciscan Health System, a sponsor of the holiday ice rink, is providing the experience for the fourth- and fifth-grade students from 12 noon until 2 p.m. The youngsters that participate were chosen for the outing by their teachers and school administrators, based on criteria such good class attendance.

The boys and girls will be taken by bus to and from the Franciscan Polar Plaza. In addition to a sack lunch, they will receive ice skates at no charge, as well as complimentary cups of hot chocolate. "This will be an opportunity to enjoy a holiday experience that many of these children might not otherwise have," said Syd Bersante, president of St. Joseph Medical Center.

The school, which has one of the highest rates of poverty and homelessness in the Tacoma School District, is only three blocks from the hospital. Through the years, employees at the Franciscan hospital have "adopted" the school by supporting drives to collect food, school supplies and clothing that benefit students and their families.

The Franciscan Polar Plaza, located at Tollefson Plaza at Pacific Avenue and South 17th Street, is open to the public daily through Jan. 2, 2012. General admission costs $8 and skates rent for $2 a pair.

Other sponsors of the Franciscan Polar Plaza include the Tacoma Art Museum, Columbia Bank and the Titus-Will automotive dealership.

"The Polar Plaza is creating opportunities for families and friends to come together for fun and fellowship during the holidays," Ms. Bersante said. "Such experiences are building blocks for quality of life and healthy communities."

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