Big, big, beautiful bouquets to Norton Middle School, which managed to use the Boston Marathon bombings as an effective teachable moment, one they readily invite other schools to embrace.
Principal Joyce Gerber explained:
“I wanted to try and balance the tragedies of the day with an event at Norton Middle School (grades 5-8) with a student population of nearly 800. As the events unrolled we spoke to the student body about the hate that was the catalyst to the bombing in Boston.
“We shared with the students that hate takes many forms, with the worst results being that which we witnessed at the Boston Marathon, explaining to the students that hate may begin with excluding a peer from the lunch table, hate may begin with a post to Facebook or an inappropriate tweet, hate may begin with misplaced mean-spirited gossip …
“The staff challenged the students to be the generation who works to stop senseless hate. The staff challenged the student body to share lunch with someone they hadn’t before. The staff challenged the students to learn about other cultures and understand individuals are hateful, not an entire race or culture. … The students are aware they will never be able to combat the violence and hate that a terrorist plans to cause the United States, but they do know in the day-to-day lives of those they have contact with, they can make a difference.”
As the students mulled the horror of Boston and the lessons put before them, they decided on a visible plan of solidarity they’ll not soon forget. You may call it their own Sweet Caroline moment.
What they did was hold a “Red Sox” day on Friday, for which all students were encouraged to wear red socks to show support for those suffering in Boston.
“I have forwarded the email and photos to the middle school principal in Watertown, Mass.,” Gerber continued. “I am hoping he responds and we can have the two schools meet via Skype or some sort of technology.”
Tennis round robin
If you love tennis, and the idea of helping someone who loves tennis, please think about participating in or supporting a “Tennis Round Robin” fundraiser 10 a.m. to noon May 6 at Towpath Tennis Center, 2108 Akron-Peninsula Road, Akron.
Here’s the back story as shared by friend Kelley Graham:
“Jeffrey M. Belcher fell ill from complications of the flu [of all things] and has been on life support at the Cleveland Clinic since early March.
“Jeff, 41, and his wife Lora are Hudson residents with two children in the Hudson Public Schools … Jeff and Lora met on the tennis courts at age 15, and have shared their love and passion of tennis by teaching together the past 20 years. Self-employed, they contracted servicing small local schools in the Hudson/Akron area.
“Through the miracle of love, prayer, and modern medicine, Jeff has battled valiantly for his life at the Cleveland Clinic main campus.
“He has suffered unrecoverable trauma to his body which will result in multiple amputations — including both hands. The road ahead will be a long and difficult one. Jeff’s body will not function as before, and his lifetime passion and career of teaching tennis has ended. Being self-employed tennis instructors, the family has suffered loss of income, not to mention unfathomable medical expenses.”
“Dallas Aleman, owner of Towpath Tennis Center, has never met Jeff, but after I shared Jeff’s story Dallas offered his facility at no charge for our fundraiser,” Graham noted. “Basically, this is just caring people in the tennis community coming together to help out a family in need.”
Cost to participate in the round robin is $50. For more information, please call 330-697-5460 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
All proceeds are going to assist the Belcher family. Other donations can be directed to the Jeffrey M. Belcher Benevolent Fund at FirstMerit Bank (any branch).
Christine Ternosky responded very quickly and beautifully to my Inspirational Moms Beauty Makeover contest aimed for Mother’s Day.
Although her dear mother, Elizabeth Triola, died Saturday, I still feel moved to share the email:
“My mom is truly amazing. She will be 93 in May and has lived on her own since 1991, when my dad passed away. She met my dad in Scotland during ‘the war.’ She was a nurse and he was a soldier. She left her family and came to the United States, never seeing her own mother again. She would tell us she chased him to America until he caught her. She married my dad and they raised seven children, never working as a nurse again in the States. Financially, it would have been so much easier had she worked, but my dad insisted he be the breadwinner. Not only was she available and supportive to her children, our house always ‘adopted’ our friends along the way.
“She was a room mother, library aide and even went to Columbus with my sister to be model when she (my sister) was taking her State Boards for cosmetology. She raised us to work hard and be proud of who we were. Of her seven children, we all married our high school sweethearts and all remain married to our original spouses to this day (as are most of our 20-plus children who are married). I think that is because we saw the importance of marriage and commitment to our dad and family.
“She not only taught us the importance of studying in school and working for what we wanted or needed but encouraged us to always give back to our community, both financially and, most importantly, physically. She did all this without a driver’s license or support from my dad’s family…
“She walked us to church and took us by bus to doctor appointments. I remember one time, I was about 5 years old and cut my hand very bad (it required 16 stitches on the inside and 26 outside). She calmly called a taxi, explaining that her daughter had a serious injury and she needed them to come ASAP. She would never bother my dad at work for something like that or impose on a neighbor and yes, dinner was cooked and on the table by 6:15 p.m. when my dad walked in the door, as it was every night.
“My greatest wish is to be half as strong and independent as she.”
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.