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New Castle Supervisor Creates Scholarship Honoring Son for Chappaqua Preschool

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New Castle Mattias Edstrom
The family of Mattias Edstrom has established a scholarship fund for families who could use assistance to pay the tuition to send their child to Play Care Learning Center in Chappaqua. Edstrom, 11, died in a hiking accident last year and attended the preschool.

When 11-year-old Mattias Edstrom tragically lost his life in February 2020, contributions poured in from the community in his memory.

His mother, New Castle Supervisor Ivy Pool, and father Christian Edstrom looked for some way to use the funds that would honor Mattias and have others remember him.

Having started his schooling at Play Care Early Learning Center at the First Congregational of Chappaqua when he was two years old, they reasoned it would make perfect sense to help families who could use the financial assistance to send their children to the preschool program through the establishment of the Mattias Edstrom Scholarship. The family’s daughter, Alexandra, also attended Play Care.

Pool described her son as someone who cared deeply about those less fortunate and was “a kid wise beyond his years.”

“We talked about a lot of the causes that were important to him, but setting something up at the preschool where he was educated, and this is also the church he belonged to, the First Congregational Church is also the sponsor of the Boy Scout troop, Troop 2 in Chappaqua, so this is a place that has a lot of special meaning for him, for our family, so it seems like a natural fit,” Pool said.

Play Care Director Xann Palmer said she hopes that one or two families in the community can be helped for next school year. Palmer and Pool hope to be able to fund the scholarship in perpetuity.

Recipients will receive tuition of up to $4,700 for one child and up to $6,350 for two or more children. The scholarship would cover the equivalent tuition for one child to attend the pre-school three days a week or for two children to attend two days a week.

Families who are eligible would live in affordable or workforce housing in Chappaqua or a surrounding community or not exceed gross annual household income thresholds. The income requirements are $60,420 for a two-person household; $67,980 for a three-person household; $75,480 for four-member family; and $81,540 for five people.

Word will also be circulated to families at the new Chappaqua Station affordable housing complex on Hunts Lane and those living in workforce or affordable units at Chappaqua Crossing.

Palmer said she’s uncertain what the need may be or who may apply, but the school is trying to be as flexible as possible.

“It’s an application process and hopefully people will get the word out and tours can be given,” said Palmer, who has been Play Care’s Director since 2014. “Everybody should come visit, and I’m happy to show them around and go through everything that could be their experience here.”

For Rev. Dr. Martha Jacobs, the senior minister at First Congregational Church, said the scholarship effort is consistent with the church’s mission of helping others in need and with Mattias’s values. She recalled during summer camp shortly after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in 2017, he suggested assisting those devastated by the storm.

Helping people was truly important to him, Jacobs said, and the church raised several thousand dollars. With the help of a congregant who has family in Puerto Rico, they sent a check and care packages to people in need.

“I have very mixed emotions about this,” Jacobs said. “I love this but I hate the fact that we have to have this idea (for the scholarship). That’s where kind of the mixed emotion is. It’s an incredible opportunity for us to serve a community that is underserved and has needs.”

Pool said Chappaqua has been special to her family and this is a way for them to help others as well.

“I know he is sort of looking down and smiling,” Pool said. “This is perfectly aligned with who he was and what he wanted for his community.”

For more information on the Mattias Edstrom Scholarship, including ways to contribute and an online application form, visit or contact Xann Palmer at 914-238-6206 or e-mail

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