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All the People You Didn’t Know Enough

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So my first official post on our family site may come off a bit morose, my apologies for that. It’s been a significant thought I’ve had though, so here we go.

About two weeks ago, one family at my school faced a pretty tough loss and it affected students and staff alike. A 14 year old student, Drew Wright, got hit by a truck while riding on his bike to school. We got the announcement at school and it was shocking in the general sense of course. The name read on an urgent school announcement on closed circuit television struck a chord, but a vague one. I recognized the name a bit, but without a face to go with it, I didn’t think I knew the student personally. After all, Myers Park is a huge school, almost 3,000 students by recent counts. As an EC teacher, I also work with a small, very specialized population of kids. So I couldn’t be entirely sure. Later on that day, we got an email from the principal about Drew. It mentioned that he was a good kid and had really enjoyed working on the musical, Zombie Prom. It was like ice water running down my back, because I helped work on that musical. I didn’t know all the names, but I definitely knew his face once I saw it come up on a news website. Drew seemed like a kind young man, and theater is often like a really eccentric family, and now we’d inadvertently lost one of our own.

The first thing I thought was why couldn’t I know Drew, THAT particular theater/student family member more? I have so many kids that I teach in my classes, or work with in theater projects, or case manage for EC purposes. It’s astonishingly easy to lose track of the kids who are not as immediate to you on a daily basis. I was overwhelmed and frustrated – as much as I try to change my student’s lives for the better, open them up to a new perspective or motivate them to try harder, I can never get to ALL the kids. Some kids can quite literally pass out of your life, and you wish you could have had more time with them, had at least one meaningful conversation, found more connection.

But as depressing as all that can seem, I am heartened by the amount of support that rose out of the community after Drew died. The theater kids got together with Ms. Cornwell and put together a really touching memorial on campus after school one day. It gave me the chance to cry a bit, and laugh, and meet his parents to offer my condolence. Sometimes students can really surprise you with just how unique and amazing they can be, to each other. I have no doubt in my mind that Drew was a wonderful boy, and he will be missed by his family everywhere.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/charlotte/obituary.aspx?n=andrew-wright&pid=157849543&fhid=5889

Author: Meghan

I'm a high school teacher at Myers Park High School and I'm also working part-time at a video store during this summer. I live in Charlotte, NC, with my awesome husband, Zach, and my two high-maintenance cats, Pete and Margaret (formerly of Dad's household fame). I read a ton of books, and participate in a book club called Forever Young Adult, "for readers who are less Y and more A". I enjoy working with students with and without disabilities, and helping out with MPHS Theater too as a drama club advisor.

One Comment

  1. The death of a student is so difficult. As a teacher you always impact students more than you know. They in turn impact you more than you know. When one dies you wonder, “How is that possible?” And if you know them well, “What a loss.”

    I had one student that I taught for several years as part of elementary school music, one of eight-hundred kids. Chucky died as a teenager a few years after I stropped teaching in Vermont, an accident driving up a windy, dirt road that I frequented. Clearly I still remember it. And my reaction is still the same even through all this time. So I feel for you, understand.

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