Let’s Get Together – September 5, 2012

Welcome back, one and all! Our school year is off to a great start. It has been so wonderful to watch the children return, eager to succeed in the classroom and enjoying the company of their friends and teachers. I have also been uplifted by the interactions I have had with you, the parents of these great kids. Your deep sense of caring for your children is inspiring to me.

Unfortunately, mixed in with the joy of the first week of school, was a very sad occurrence. One of our graduates, Pierre Kirkendoll, brother of our Kindergarten Aide, Konstance Kirkendoll, died in Louisiana where he was attending school. He was only 29 years old. Pierre, known for his bright smile and kind heart, will be greatly missed by his many friends, his loving family and the Beechwood Community.

At his Memorial service on Thursday, many people spoke about Pierre. It was difficult at times to watch the speakers become emotional as they shared their memories and dealt with the grief that they were feeling. As hard as it was, I was glad to have been there, along with fellow staff members and Beechwood alumni, to pay respect to Pierre.

When I returned home that night and reflected back on the service, the words of one of the speakers, Pierre’s uncle, kept coming back to me. What he said, essentially, was this: “don’t wait until someone is gone to tell them how much you appreciate them”. He also talked about family and how we need to get back to simply being together. “We don’t do that anymore”, he said regretfully.

It is hard sometimes to put aside all of life’s distractions and worries, but, as we start this new school year, let’s try harder to be present for those we love and to show appreciation for those that are most important to us. If there are bad feelings between family members, we need to forgive and make a fresh start. Instead of staring at the TV or our iPhones or our computer screens we need to make a shift back to talking, laughing, sharing, listening, eating and playing…together.

And so, to honor Pierre, I am going to try to heed his Uncle’s call for us to appreciate each other and focus more on family. I hope that you will try as well.

– Mr. Laurance