We forget, in the rush of school days that hundred of lives are lived every day in our buildings. And, since schools are places where youth and energy are the norm, we are not always well suited to meet the challenges that death and loss put forth. Over summer, one of our students lost a battle she had bravely fought for her entire, but brief, lifetime. She succumbed to the complications of the disease that took her heart, but certainly not her spirit or her memory.
It is rare for those of us who work in schools to face the reality of death, whether it is a student or a staff member, but it does happen. When such events happen, they bring sadness, reflection and, hopefully, an an opportunity to heal as a community. Delicate work this is. Last week, we gathered as small group of classmates, staff and family members to plant a tree in memory of our friend, daughter, niece, granddaughter and student. It was a small affair,under a brilliant sunny autumn sky.
I’m reminded that our public schools are incredible institutions; resilient, responsive and real. Schools represent the deepest, longest, and often most intimate, connection that the state has with citizens. Parents send their children to school with the belief that we will do the right things, with compassion and dedication; that’s quite a gesture of trust.
I’ll walk by that single tree every day as I begin and end my work day, lucky me.