I have nothing good to say today.
Everyday has some highlights.
But some days, events overshadow the good.
Today is one of those days.
We lost a student this weekend.
There is no official cause of death yet, just that the young man was found dead unexpectedly.
It is currently being deemed a possible suicide.
There is a vigil tonight.
Nothing is worse than the death of a student.
This student, we'll call him Reggie, was a 5th year Senior this year.
I had him as a freshman, and again later because he failed the first time.
I loved Reggie.
He is, was, one of those kids who taught me more than I ever taught him.
You know the 5 languages of love?
Well, Reggie convinced me there is a 6th.
His love language was food.
It took me months to figure him out.
He was a terrible student.
Not on purpose, exactly, but he was not academically successful.
Reggie had a diagnosis of LD reading and written expression.
On its own a learning disability is no big deal with the appropriate support.
But Reggie hadn't had that and didn't want it from me or my co-teacher.
Some days he would make a bit of an effort.
Most days, he would flatly refuse to attempt anything.
He wasn't disruptive, he just would not try.
I tried everything I could think of to get into his head.
Most of the time he was pleasant, though not forthcoming.
Once in a while he would become downright belligerent.
His worst habit was eating in class.
Personally, I don't care if kids eat.
Unfortunately, school policy strictly forbids food in classrooms.
It was a constant battle.
Gradually, we came to a precarious peace.
Then he started coming in hungry and asked for food.
And I fed him.
I'm a sucker for a hungry kid.
Reggie was tall and thin as a rail and when he said he was hungry, I believed him.
When I fed him an amazing thing happened.
He blossomed. He came alive.
Now, I don't mean he magically starting working.
He did; however, start talking to me.
And I discovered that he LOVED food.
He LOVED to cook.
After that, we got along pretty well.
Eventually, he started to find his way.
The culinary program became a refuge for him and he catered several school events I attended.
During the past few years, he dropped in pretty regularly, usually for a snack.
We stayed friendly in the halls.
I remember one time when he came by during lunch.
The only thing I had to eat were some raw mushrooms leftover from my lunch.
I offered them thinking there was no way he would take them.
He surprised me.
He took them and told me he was going to take them home and cook them.
The next day, Reggie came back grinning from ear to ear.
I got to hear all about how he had made a stir fry with those mushrooms and how well it hard turned out and what else he put in it and so on and so forth.
That was when I realized, really realized that food was his love language.
I will cherish that memory.
I will miss him and cry over his loss.
It is devastating to think about how much he had grown and how close he came to successfully completing high school.
Maybe his memory is a good thing.
His life would have been much much better.