Over the past five months, Gering Public Schools has been stricken with unspeakable tragedy and loss. In March, we dealt with the unexpected death of 39 year Geil Elementary teacher Kathy Keller. In May, we once again faced tragedy with the unexpected death of 23 year Freshman Academy math teacher, coach, and assistant athletic director Gary Smith. Then, just this past Monday, we were struck by the sudden loss of 30 year GHS social studies teacher, theater and speech coach Jason deMaranville.
In each instance, as our staff and students have dealt with extreme grief, we have been touched by the love and support that our community has poured out upon us. The gifts of food, kind words, and support are made meaningful not so much by what they are, but by what they represent. These gifts show us that you are worried about us, that you are thinking of us, that you care.
Through each of these tragedies, after talking about how Mrs. Keller, Mr. Smith, or Mr. D have somehow touched their lives or the lives of their kids, the question that I have been most asked has been, “Is there something I can do?”
I want to tell you, there is something you can do. Something that doesn’t cost money or take a lot of time to do. But it is something that means everything.
What is that something? Find that teacher that made a difference for you. Find that teacher that has touched your child. Find that teacher and tell them what they mean to you. Find that teacher and send them a note of gratitude. Find that teacher and tell them about that time when they did something that made a difference for you or your child.
This week, I have been awestruck listening to the stories of grieving students as they have talked about what Mr. D meant to them. I have listened to friends and students say things like, “I wish I would have said…”
So, is there something you can do? Yes. Go tell your teacher thanks. Thanks for pouring their life into yours. And, please, don’t wait. Do it today!