I rarely post here about my work so most of you know little about it.
I teach in an inner city Catholic High School. As the cost of tuition, although far lower than any private school, has continued to rise, the neighborhood surrounding school has declined and the economy has hit our parents hard. Thursday afternoon we learned that our beloved school would be closing at the end of this school year.
I have loved the kids at this school since the day I arrived there. They are wonderful. Our school has a population that the word diverse fails to cover- they are from every racial and ethnic background, many religions, many cultures, and span the socio-economic scale from poverty to well-to-do. They come to us as freshman from their own neighborhoods and learn in 4 years to see only people. They are a living, breathing embodiment of Dr. King's goal: they judge by the content of character and not color of skin.
Yesterday was a day of bitter tears. The grief was palpable in the hallways. Our children are devastated. I was overwhelmed however, not by the magnitude of their grief for themselves, but by the compassion and caring that they, the children, found and expressed for the adults.
The kids spent yesterday asking favorite teachers "where will you be next year?- I'm going wherever you are going". When we had to tell them that we do not know where, or even if, we will be teaching next year they were stunned and angry for us. Even as they dealt with the idea that they will have to choose new schools for next year and will be separating from their friends, they worried about us.
Some of our teachers have spent their adult lives at our school. Several of these are also graduates. The kids were so sensitive to the feelings of those adults most affected and most hurt that it was one of those times when pain and joy were inseparable. To see the young people seek out those adults, to watch them offer to the adults their caring at this time, was both awe-inspiring and heartbreaking. It was the final proof of the success of our school.
Something very special died on Thursday. We are now in the immediate grief stage. We will have a long time until the burial in June. During that time we will continue to bond, to do our eulogies, and remind everyone of our wonderful history and magnificent legacy. Our school family and community will create memories and memorials so that no one will ever forget the greatness of who we were and are. "We are CD!"
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