The girls had the day off yesterday for a county-wide teacher’s planning day, so I took the day off with them. We went into my campus first thing to put up the ribbons and flyers in remembrance of Somer Thompson. We have nearly 75 brick columns like the one you see here, and more than 50 of them are adorned like this (you can click on the photo to enlarge). Our campus president has already offered to waive Somer’s mother’s fees for her classes this term and provide her a presidential scholarship for next term. This morning I met with our Foundation representatives, and we are moving forward with establishing the Somer Thompson Memorial Scholarship Fund. The support from our Board of Trustees and Cabinet has been overwhelming. We’ll start raising seed funds at our regularly-scheduled Fall Fest event tomorrow and then once Somer’s mom has had a chance to get through this initial time, we’ll meet with her about the details of the scholarship. I really want her to have input into the requirements for the scholarship. If you’d like to contribute to the scholarship seed fund, please email me and I’ll send you the details.
While the girls were helping my students and I put the ribbons and flyers up, as six-year-olds will, they asked a lot of questions about the little girl on the flyers and why we were putting up the ribbons. I told them more about Somer and how important it was to remember her and celebrate her life. Each night when we put the girls to bed, I ask them what their favorite part of their day was. When I started our nightly ritual last night and asked Sarah about her favorite part of the day, she said, “Mama, first I want to tell you about the saddest part of the day.” “Okay,” I said, guessing where this was going, “what was the saddest part of the day?” She continued, “I’m really sad that that little girl was killed. I know her Mama must be really, really, really sad. Can we make her a card?” The sweetness of children… I told her that certainly we could, and then asked her what her favorite part of the day was. She replied, “Smoothing out the ribbons on the columns.” “Wow,” I said, “even more than the pumpkin patch!?” “Oh! I forgot about the pumpkin patch! Okay, that was a tie.”
In my line of work, we talk about “teachable moments,” experiences my students go through that provide valuable teaching lessons. Those teachable moments work for little ones, too. It’s sad to teach the lesson of Somer Thompson, but the opportunity to bring recognition to one child’s life to protect another’s is the most valuable lesson of all.