Saturday, October 10, 2009

Heartbreak

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!"

9 comments:

Suzanne said...

OH no! I am so sorry for you and all the students and other teachers that are involved in this closure. I will be a bitter sweet year. You are all in my prayers.

Tammy said...

aww I remember when our elementary school closed and how hard it was. It was a very small school we were all like family. A lot of liked those days better then high school (including me)

It'll be hard but if everyone relives good memories with everyone else it keeps the school alive!
Tammy

Catherine G. said...

I saw this on the local news, i did not realize that this is where you taught. What you wrote about the kids shows their spirit - something they can carry with them where ever they may go.

Thoughts and prayers to you and the kids!

Lee said...

Such sad news. My parents grew up in Olney and I had friends who went to CD.

On a positive note, it sounds like you and the other school staff built something there that created students with sound minds and admirable traits. Closing the doors won't diminish those accomplishments.

Shirley said...

I am in tears. I can't imagine. It's like a family being split. And what of the ones who have graduated too. There is something about having a school back there. My prayers are with all of you, children, their families, and their mentors. I don't know what to say.

Etha said...

wow, what a bummer!!

Shirley said...

I couldn't stop thinking about this. Couldn't the parents group and form a Charter school? Would the Church offer up the location, etc. if they do that? There must be some people who want to do something. A Grassroots group needs to be started on the students' behalf, and the teachers' too of course.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through Splitcoast Stampers and read your story. Wow, what a double blow life has dealt you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I will pray for the quick recovery of your health and for the well being of you and your students. Life is just not fair sometime. Peace.

Joan B said...

Hugs. And I hope your mouth is better.