Needless to say, this young man died far, far too early. In my 17 years of teaching I have had (or at least know of) six of my students pass away. And every time it is very shocking. It is hard to make sense of. How could someone so young, with so much potential, so much to offer to the world, be... gone?
This particular boy always sat in the right, rear desk of my classroom (which is now Ms. Sidhu's classroom). He was very polite. He found math tough but he was willing to work hard. Whenever he came for extra help he would be sure to thank me profusely. He was also a very talented musician and I know that music was one of his true passions in life.
One story I remember is that I told him that - if he completed PreCalculus 12 (I was teaching his PC 11 at the time) - I would give him the Alex Ovechkin autographed sweatshirt that (still) hangs at the front of my class. He was very enthused about this. However, I believe he dropped out of PreCalculus 12 after a few month the next year. As the end of the year approached, I told this boy that I'd still give him the jersey. But he declined! He said to me: "we had a deal and I did not live up to it. It would not be right for me to take it from you now". I was so impressed by this. Talk about a person with tremendous honour and integrity. I was going to get rid of that shirt after this year (in fact, I thought of trying to reconnect with the boy, to offer it to him again), but I think I will keep it up a little longer to help remember him.
My heart goes out to the family of this boy. I can not imagine the pain that they are going through right now. Truly a parent's worse nightmare...
You are all special, amazing people and I feel lucky to get to teach you. Take care of yourselves (now and in the many years ahead of you). Please!