Sunday, March 6, 2016

February 27.

It was like any other Saturday. Except for the fact that I had Saturday School, but even that isn't out of the norm. I woke up and cut it a tad too close getting to school, I taught, I came home and spent the rest of the day at the beach.

It was like any other Saturday. But it wasn't.

Because my heart was heavy thinking of my snowy hometown. My heart wasn't on the beach in Ipanema, but rather on the hills of Ohio.

Four years ago, my quiet hometown was shaken to it's core. Four years ago, we were known for snow fall and maple syrup and our schools all having excellent rating. Those aren't the only things that come up when you Google "Chardon" anymore.

And it was tough. It was tough to watch the lives of the people you've grown up with change. It was tough to hear people who have never heard of your town talk about it in a negative way. It was tough to be in Brazil instead of being with people who love and know Chardon the same way that I do. But people from Chardon are resilient. We have to be to deal with long, lake effect winters. And as a community, so many good things have come from such a terrible tragedy.

Some students have been working with contractors and adults within the community to build and open the Chardon Living Memorial Park.

Others have created scholarship funds to be given on behalf of the students who were killed.

And my students always, always, always get a lesson on bullying. Because whether or not this shooting was a result of bullying, others are. And it is never a bad time to discuss bullying and it's harmful effects.

So we wore red. We empathized. We spoke of Coach Hall and what makes a hero. We discussed bravery and we talked about choices. We prayed to God for continued healing of a city that many have never been to.

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