A Familiar Feeling, But Worse This Time

Nate Bowling:

Elijah was the most energetic student I have ever taught. He drove me up the wall freshmen year. But, over the next three years I had the pleasure of watching him grow, mellow slightly, and turn into one of the hardest working students I had last year. He was a captain of the wrestling team. He sat in the front seat in my AP Government class. He grinded for me like no other student last year. And I remember how proud of him I felt as I read his name last June at graduation. Now I can’t believe he’s gone.

We’ve lost kids before, we lost Chandler and Hector in the last few years. Last year, we lost Jalon–that one really hurt me too. But I have never felt a loss this personal.

The next thing I remember was finding his math teacher in her classroom. She also had a very close relationship with Elijah. We had just discussed a few days prior how much we missed him–now he was gone. We hugged and cried in her doorway for what seemed like an eternity. I was a mess; she was worse. Neither of us knew what to say. We just cried. There really aren’t words for moments like that, if there are I certainly am not smart or composed enough under pressure to know them. We just cried.

It was Election Day and I had an armful of Voters’ Pamphlets to use in Government with me. As I shuffled past pockets of students, some with tears in their eyes, other completely unaware of what had happened, I just cried.