This school year was draining. It was tiring to blitz through the curriculum faster than ever due to the late start of the school year while the AP exams remain stuck in the first half of May. It was frustrating to coach a struggling team when so few players consistently cared or even showed up. It was nerve-wracking to hear story after story about huge budget cuts that limited supplies, wiped out the activity buses, and that continue to threaten my high school’s future as a magnet program.

And next year, we’re starting a week later, meaning another week lost before the APs. We’re not even sure we’re going to have junior varsity sports next year. We still don’t know how big the budget cuts are going to be for 2009-2010, or what the bell schedule is going to be, or which of our most experienced teachers are going to be fired, or what new proposals will threaten the college prep magnets.

None of that was the worst part. The worst part, to be blunt, was all the death. Our senior class president, Morgan, was killed in a wreck the first week of school. A dear coworker’s husband died in December, barely a month after being diagnosed with cancer. One of my first students, Starr (Paxon ‘05), died in March of Lou Gehrig’s disease, two months before her 21st birthday.

And then this very morning, the last day of school: an SUV flipped on 295, eight kids from Ed White High School were thrown from the car, and three of them are dead so far. Two freshmen and a junior. Granted, they weren’t my students, so I’ve got no personal connection to them–

–but after everything else that’s happened to Paxon’s students and faculty this year, and knowing how easily it could have been my own students or my younger cousins, and knowing that some of my students were friends with these Ed White kids, and having seen what Morgan’s and Starr’s families and friends went through… my heart just sank when I heard about it. We didn’t need this bookend.

Sorry this post was such a downer, but thank God this year is done. I’ll write about graduation tomorrow.

One Comment


6 June 2009 11:28 pm

Mr. V,
I agree. This year was tough for everyone. Rikki’s speech at graduation about Morgan was so touching and such a tear-jerker (well, maybe not for the big, tough guys…but for the women…definitely). I can only hope that the Paxon family can grow from all of these experiences.
I’ll be praying our veteran teachers will be allowed to grace us with their presence one more year. Their co-workers and the school need them desperately. …and their students! We will miss those famous faces around Paxon next year!
You’re such a pleasure to have around Paxon. I’m glad to hear that at least you will be back! We need your humor and honesty!