THANKYOU Mrs Taylor, wherever you are now, for sitting me on your knee on my very first day of school when I got upset because I mixed up the paints. It will amaze you to know that I still remember you.
THANKYOU ‘Basher’ Briggs. You knew more about Shakespeare than his own mother and gave me a lifelong love of writing and drama. You don’t remember me? I was the one at the back throwing spitballs at Kevin Forge and getting forgettable grades. But I remember you.
THANKYOU ‘Jed’ Clamp, for picking me for the football team probably against your better judgment. I was crap, wasn’t I? But it was all I lived for at the time and I would have been crushed if you’d dropped me.
I wasn’t happy when you made me read my story in front of the whole class. I seem to remember trying to hide under the desk but that A+ grade made me think I actually had a talent for something. Look what you started.
THANKYOU Mrs ‘Snow’ White who stayed at the primary school every night until after dark getting lessons ready for the kids the next day. Thank you for giving Jess her Best Readers Award in her first year at primary school. She still has the book she won as the prize. She is now majoring in Literature and Creative Writing.
THANKYOU Mr John d’Abreu for listening to the cares and concerns of my wife and I in our daughters third primary year when she was so sad and listless. She was a changed girl by the time she left your class.
THANK YOU MOST OF ALL for whatever good fortune smiles on me that my kids came home every night from school and had the chance to live their lives to the fullest and that I had the chance to watch them grow into wonderful people. I see now that I took this for granted instead of being duly grateful.
There are no words I can think of as solace to the parents in Sandy Hook who do not have my good fortune. But I would like at least in this short post to honour the teachers who did everything to protect their young people in the face of this horror, and the six who gave their lives doing it.
The teachers were:
Anne Marie Murphy