Sunday, April 21, 2013

Martin Richard

I've been waiting all week to write this because I wasn't sure how I was feeling.  It has been an emotional roller coaster this week.

For those of you who don't know, Martin Richard was the eight year old killed by the Boston Marathon explosions on Monday.   He was also a third grader at Neighborhood House Charter School, the school I served at last year in Boston.  While Martin wasn't in my class, the beauty of a small school is that everyone knows everyone.  Martin was in second grade last year when I was serving in first grade.  First and second grade spend a lot of time together, so I got to know Martin over the course of the year.  I spend Monday through Thursday with him and all of the first and second graders at recess.  For those of you who have never experienced recess duty, the majority of your time is spent breaking up arguments over a sports game or trying to make everyone feel included. Martin was never one of those kids.  He got along with EVERYONE.  He was always playing basketball or football with the other boys, but never got into arguments over the game.  If anything, he was the mediator between the two teams.  Outside of sports, he always made people feel included.  He would often partner up with another student who was left out and he was definitely the cutie of his class.  All of the girls had crushes on him.

Last year, my team hosted a college fair for the entire school.  We had thousands of pamphlets from different colleges. We asked each student to pick a school that they wanted to attend and we wrote their name and their school on a fake diploma. While most first and second graders spent what seemed like hours trying to pick out a school, Martin knew that he wanted to go to Boston University. He loved his home town and was proud of it so much he never wanted to leave.  I am glad that Boston is showing him as much love as he showed Boston.

NHCS is an incredible school and provides such a sense of community for the students and families there. I know that Martin was lucky enough to attend such a great school because it provided him with an incredible experience. It is also a blessing for his family in the aftermath. His sister is in first grade at NHCS and his mom is the librarian. His sister lost a leg and his mom was also seriously injured. I know that the NHCS community will surround them with the love and support they need during this difficult time. 

Even though Martin wasn't in my class, he was definitely a positive presence on my time at NHCS. When I heard that an eight year old had been killed, it briefly crossed my mind that it could be one of my students, but I never really thought it would be true.  My heart goes out to the NHCS community. I know how close of a bond that is and how much each of the NHCS scholars is cared for within that community.  

Martin and his class did a peace walk last year through Dorchester and this was the sign that he made.
Martin at the college fair last year proudly holding his Boston University diploma.
True bliss.
"No more hurting people. Peace." -Martin Richard