A fond farewell to a beloved friend


In my class the “s word” has been banned. No, it not that word…snow. You know that the season for snow should really be over when first and second graders groan to see it falling. I don’t know about you, but frankly I prefer my snow in January, not April. Like my students, I am more than ready for shorts and flip-flops!

Staff and students returned from Easter break on April 6. I am very impressed with the self control of my class. Every morning I have a question of the day as part of our daily math meeting. The children’s answers are placed on the graph. In the Catholic Church this week is the third week of Easter, so one of the daily questions was “Do you have any Easter candy left?” I was surprised to discover that the majority of them did have candy left from Easter.

The eighth graders were invited to the Greenville High School on April 16 to shadow high school students. Transitioning from a small school like St. Mary’s to a large school such as the high school can be rather daunting. The students appreciated the opportunity to get a preview of high school. It will not be long before the eighth graders will become St. Mary’s Alumni. In a few weeks, the eighth graders will embark on their class trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. They will be enjoying their trip from May 4 to May 8. Eighth grade graduation is May 27.

On Friday, April 23, author and Catholic motivational speaker Stephanie Engelman came to speak to the fifth through eighth grade classes. Ms. Engelman is the author of the book, A Single Bead.

Saturday, April 24, was the annual dinner and auction held at PAWS Bingo Hall. The event is a major fundraiser for the school. The evening is held in memory of Tom and Etta May Foley, and Mike Pressnall who were great supporters of our school. I would like to express our gratitude to all the people who currently support our school, especially with the auction. Thank you to all the parents who worked so hard to put the auction together and the merchants and others who donated items for the auction. Finally, a big thank you to everyone who came to the evening, making it a success.

It is with a great deal of sadness, that I have to tell you of the passing of our beloved secretary, Chris Detling. Chris was the school secretary from August 2000 to the very week she passed away. She died early in the morning on April 16. There is such a big hole in our collective heart. Chris had been fighting cancer for the last 5 years. We watched her body waste away, but not her spirit. It seemed that as her body became frailer, her spirit, her courage, and patience became stronger. She never complained but continued on with her customary smile. She was the mom of the school. She always had a band-aid for every cut and scrape, no matter if said wound was so miniscule you needed a magnifying glass to see it. She probably put enough ice cubes in baggies for bumps and bruises to build a small glacier. She had a kind word for everyone and was never too busy to listen, even if the work on her desk was threatening to topple over and cover the office. I always said she was the perfect secretary, super-efficient and super kind. She was the nicest person I ever met. Now I know that usually “nice’ is kind of a bland compliment. Usually, you say someone is nice because you really can’t think of anything else to say. However, not about Chris. I worked with her for 19 years and cannot recall her ever saying anything mean or unkind to or about anyone. Occasionally she might say “Oh you stinker!” but it was always said with a smile and a twinkle in her eye. We laid her to rest April 21. Before the funeral Mass, her vault was brought to school so that the staff and students could sign it. The entire school attended her funeral. As a final farewell, the students lined the entrance to the church and sang “As We Kneel Before You” as the casket was carried out. We miss her so much, but know she is still keeping an eye on us. On Friday, April 23, we had a balloon launch to celebrate her life. The staff and students wrote notes that were attached to the balloons before the launch. Chris may be gone from our sight but will always be in our hearts.

It is hard to believe, but May begins Saturday. Before long, this year will be another memory, and considering the year, a very memorable memory! Until next month take care and think spring!


By Kathy Ayette

St. Mary’s School News

Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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