Two days ago, a student I worked with in the drama department of the first high school where I taught passed away. (WCCO has a video report also.)
As any educator knows, losing a former student is incredibly sad, but when you lose one of those students you truly cared about, truly looked forward to seeing what would happen with his or her life, it can break your heart.
He's broken a lot of hearts, I am sure. This is a kid I cannot remember ever seeing angry or snotty, the way high school students can get, the kind of short fuse that comes with the territory; instead, he was that kind of calming presence, bursting with good cheer. He was the actor who would help the techies build the set, spending his weekends off with a handsaw or a paint brush. He kept rehearsals moving at a clip, joking at mishaps, picking up, never having to be scolded or chided, but instead buoying those around him, willing to take on dance steps and solos without fear. Above are images I took of him playing the Jester in Once Upon a Mattress.
Now I'm all snotty myself from crying, and I wish more than anything that this hadn't happened to him, I wish I could go back two days and pull out all trees by their roots, just to keep him here, because he's the sort of person you want on this earth, the kind of person where you mean it so much when you say it isn't fair. He had a good spirit, that man. He will be sorely missed, I know.