Atlantic Community High School graduates Christelle Singh and Talia Vessal are headed off to college, but not without leaving behind something for Delray Beach: a fitness park complete with a plaque bearing their names as a permanent thank-you from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The teens, who were students in the school’s International Baccalaureate engineering program, spent more than 200 hours redesigning Barwick Park, 735 Barwick Road, into an an outdoor gym with strength training, toning and cardio equipment.
“It’s unbelievable the day is finally here that it’s done,” Vessal said. “We are so excited to see our names on the sign. That was a nice surprise.”
Vessal and Singh attended the ribbon-cutting and official opening for the park on Aug. 18 alongside Mayor Cary Glickstein, Parks and Recreation director Suzanne Fisher and other community leaders. Delray Beach residents were already using the new workout equipment the morning of the ceremony.
“I have a daughter who is a senior and I can only imagine how proud you are of these girls and what they have accomplished,” Glickstein said. “We’ve got 24 parks in our city and this is a park everyone in the community can take advantage of.”
Fisher, who thanked the young women for their hard work in bringing the project to fruition, was eager to share their achievement with the community.
“We’re so excited for Christelle and Talia and all the effort and hard work they put in. We didn’t want the girls to miss this opening before they went off to college,” she said.
Vessal is planning to attend the University of Central Florida, while Singh will be at Palm Beach State College. Both students want to major in engineering.
After raising more than $38,000 to make their vision a reality, they also worked closely with the city.
“We visited other parks throughout South Florida and did extensive research,” Vessal said. “We are so happy with how the park turned out.”
She said the project not only helped them learn about engineering, but it also prepared them for life in the business world.
“Along with all the engineering aspects, we worked with the city for a year and we learned how to draft professional emails and project letters and how to talk in front of people and how to professionally approach situations, and we think that would really benefit us in college and on job interviews,” Vessal said.