Monday, June 8, 2009

Too much to take

I apologize that it has been so long since my last post. Things have been pretty terrible lately.

Those of you who have been following my/Sherri's blog know that on 5/27, we loss a beloved colleague, Bob Mitchell, to cancer. This was, unfortunately, not our first loss this year. In November, we lost a colleague, also to cancer. Donna Mandatori was the secretary in the Career and Technical Education Department and a spunky, passionate member of the NNHS community. On May 6th, we learned of the death of a recent retiree, Tom DePeter, an English teacher for 35 years. So when Bob passed, the pain was palpable. We had just begun to learn of the arrangements for a memorial celebration on June 20th and were sharing stories and memories to try to help each other cope. Then the unthinkable happened.

On Saturday, May 30, Ucal McKenzie died after collapsing on the soccer field. He was our 32 year old guidance counselor, soccer coach, peer mentor advisor, break dance club advisor, esteemed colleague and smiling friend (he smiled from the inside out and it was infectious). This tragedy has consumed us. It will not break us. We will become stronger. But the healing will take time. The NNHS community is grieving in the midst of a typically celebratory time. Tonight is prom, Wednesday is graduation, and summer vacation begins in 2 weeks. It is hard to balance the emotions. I wish I could share with you how amazing it is to be a member of the Newton North community. The outpouring of support and the way we have all come together is so entirely uplifting. Students, faculty, staff, parents, family, friends... supporting each other with raw emotion. It is impossible to put words to how that feels and more impossible to explain how you can go from embracing a friend, a student, a parent and wiping away the tears you thought couldn't possibly still come, to reviewing for final exams all in the same morning. How does that make sense? But still we keep moving and keep doing what we do best. But we are tired and spent and ready for summer.

There are many happy things that have happened that I would love to post about - and I will. Thanks for your patience.

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