It was the last day of school and Makaila was safety patrolling so I knew that she would be later than usual. But when she came into my office and I didn’t hear the official “hooray, school is done” I looked up. Something was wrong. “Dad, I cried so much at school today” were the words she said. I asked her what was wrong and she could hardly get it out before she burst into tears again. “Mr. V is leaving”.
Mr. V (the abbreviated form of Mr. Vermeersch) was Makaila’s grade 7 teacher. He was a cool teacher, one who had the ability to mix education with enthusiasm and humour, making it easier for students to learn. He was the kind of teacher that Makaila would never complain about even on the days when the kids pushed him too hard…she knew that if he got mad, it was a right that he had earned. Makaila has had great experiences all through public school and grade 7 was no exception. But the news that day that Mr. V would be the new Vice Principal at Harwich Raleigh Public School brought tears…the girls cried, the boys cried and the grade 6 students were mad because he wouldn’t be their teacher next year. What happened that last day of school was that the kids, some for the first time, experienced grief. They had experienced love and now they had experienced loss. And it hurt (or in my daughter’s words, “it sucked”).
As I held Makaila in my arms, I hurt that she hurt. I tried to find the right words to say; something that would make sense of it all but there was little consolation. Someday she’ll smile when she looks back and remembers the good times and the good friends she made in grade 7, including Mr V. but until then, he’ll be missed.
Congratulations, Mr. V. When I think of all the people who have made a difference in my daughter’s life, I’ll think of you. Harwich Raleigh has gained a great V.P.