There are times when life’s greatest and hardest lessons are taught without textbooks, without instruction, and without curriculum or standards. Back in the day this was referred to as “The School of Hard Knocks”. I would submit that on Monday morning when our students arrived at school, it was hard, but this time it was more about compassion, kindness, and support for one another in the wake of yet another tragedy that has rocked our community. Although “Hard Knocks” would be appropriate, because throughout the wake of the storm we as a school and community will become tougher, stronger, and more resilient; one cannot overlook the love and kindness demonstrated in the halls and in the community of Fair Grove as we pray for comfort and peace for another devastated family.
In my 25 years as an educator, unfortunately, I have witnessed my share of tragedy. Losing a young life, however it may happen, is heartbreaking and will at times challenge a person’s Faith. But one only needed to be present on Monday morning when our students returned to school to be assured that it is that same Faith that is being challenged that will guide us through and make us stronger. As the sea of orange in our halls became more of an ocean, and students began to gather together throughout classrooms and halls, it was clear that when kids hurt, they want to be together. The key word in the phrase is “BE”. They just want to “BE” together, hurt together and heal together.
With every passing hour and bell, I believe we each got a little stronger and a little closer to healing. As tears became laughter and laughter back to tears, I witnessed love and compassion like never before. I would also submit that I witnessed education like never before. The curriculum of the day had nothing to do with the Pythagorean Theorem or the molecular makeup of the human body, it was a life lesson on dealing with hurt, anger, and eventually hope.
To our local youth Pastors, Pastors and our local Fire Chief, thank you for spending the day with us listening, hugging, and consoling our hurting students and employees. To the faculty, staff, and administration of the Fair Grove School District, thank you for loving our children and understanding their needs. To the entire Fair Grove Community, it is once again a time that we must come together to support, encourage, and pray for those that are hurting. To the family of Samuel “Sammy” Stafford, we LOVE you and will be there for you in the only way we know how -The Fair Grove Family Way!
Dr. John Link