Father champions legacy of daughters killed by fire

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)-It was a tragic event that shocked the nation when three little girls and their grandparents died in a Connecticut house fire on Christmas Day last year. Sunday, the girls father joined dozens of school children, parents and teachers at Lincoln Elementary School to talk about arts in education.

He came to Louisville, the place where his children's grandparents were from. His children always on his mind, Matthew Badger is on a mission to have the arts interwoven into elementary education

The Black Box theatre at Lincoln Elementary was full of art in music and song. The arts are very important to Matthew Badger

"...and profoundly important for Lily, Sarah and Grace," he said.

He was speaking of his three daughters. They, along with their grandparents who were from Louisville, perished in a Christmas Day fire in 2011 in Connecticut.

"The very best part of my life was my girls," Badger said.

Badger is making a legacy for them through his charity fund and foundation.

"That's what I'm trying to do," he said. "I'm trying to fulfill their potential. Which they had a lot of"

The fund gives grants to schools for arts-based elementary education.

"If you get elementary school right with a kid, then you have a chance that that child will go all the way through to High School and then go on to college," he said.

Several students at Lincoln Elementary told WAVE 3 why they enjoyed the arts at school

"Because you can have fun activities everyday," Third grader, Nevaeh Bunley said.

Fourth grader, Alexis Wright said "You can play instruments, you can dance, you can have fun with all the music. You can act. You can sing. It's just really fun to me."

Third grade student, Rosie Tricase said "You can do [just] about everything."

Badger said 6,000 Commonwealth children and 70,000 children nationwide are fund beneficiaries for arts in school.

The principal at Lincoln Elementary school tells WAVE 3 several JCPS schools plan on taking advantage of that foundation's philanthropy.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.