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Naming the solar panel walkway was an important decision for Dexter Community Schools and the many students who helped pick it, and that’s why the Board of Education voted to name it for long-time teacher Kate Boynton, who passed away in 2020.

DCS announced on June 5, the naming of the walkway.

In its announcement, DCS said, “During the planning stages, the District asked students to suggest names for the solar walkway. Nearly 1,000 students completed the survey and suggested a wide variety of names.”

The overwhelmingly most popular name suggestion was “The Kate Boynton Memorial Walkway.”

According to DCS, Boynton taught at Dexter from 1998 through the time of her passing in October of 2020.

Kate Boynton. photo courtesy of Dexter Community Schools

“Mrs. Boynton was a beloved teacher and spent many years at Wylie Elementary on the playground which is located directly adjacent to the new solar walkway,” the announcement said. “The solar walkway project was initiated during the pandemic and Mrs. Boynton became ill during that period while the entire Dexter community navigated isolation and ambiguity. Team Rainbow, as Mrs. Boynton’s supporters dubbed themselves, provided a way for the community to connect to support and rally around a dedicated teacher in a time when the world was deeply impacted by the global pandemic. Team Rainbow stickers and the rainbow fence decoration are still displayed throughout the community in support of Mrs. Boynton’s battle with cancer, demonstrating her lasting influence on our community, and representing hope for all whose lives are impacted by cancer.”

DCS began the solar walkway project in 2019 while working with the DHS Green Schools Club. The district said this project “will provide both a learning resource to our students and significant energy savings to the buildings. The walkway is now complete, along with the ground-mounted solar panel field off of Dan Hoey Road.”

Of the naming, Wylie Principal Katie See said this in the district’s announcement:

“Mrs. Kate Boynton was a highly dedicated teacher who was committed to instilling a love of reading in all of her students. She was creative, passionate, and had a wonderful sense of humor. Her laughter made everyone smile, and she was always planning fun learning activities for her students. She said her favorite color was “rainbow” because she loved all of the colors. Kate inspired her students and colleagues with this advice: ‘Seek joy and things you are grateful for.’ Wylie created a rainbow on the fence that leads to the solar walkway. It reminds us that teachers color our lives and help us to ‘seek joy’.”

While DCS Superintendent Dr. Chris Timmis said, “Sometimes it’s hard to know the impact you have on students. One of Kate’s gifts was to remind us how important great teachers and educators are to kids.”

“The solar walkway stands as a beautiful testament to the creative problem-solving of Dexter students, the Community’s support for Dexter students through fundraising for the project, and last, but certainly not least, students’ appreciation for the wonderful teachers who impact their lives,” said DCS Board of Education President Mara Greatorex. “It’s an amazing way to honor Kate Boynton, who was a caring teacher, mother, and friend who made an impact in the life of everyone who knew her.”

The district said it is planning a dedication ceremony for the community to occur closer to the start of the new school year.

Details on the solar walkway and field project are available on the DCS website at: https://www.dexterschools.org/district/solar

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