Today was a sad day. We found out last night that our beloved custodian and crossing guard, Kevin, passed away unexpectedly. To say I was shocked and saddened would be an understatement.
Despite my shock, when I heard the news, I immediately went into "principal" mode. Over the next three hours, my assistant principal and I contacted every staff member to notify them of Kevin's passing and made arrangements for our morning staff meeting, where we would discuss how to share the news with our students.
Our students absolutely adored Kevin and he adored them. He greeted each student at the crosswalk with a smile, a high five, and a kind greeting to start their day. He knew kids by name, took the time to get to know them, and went out of his way to make our kids feel special. In much the same way, he made our staff feel special, too. He did his work with a smile, was always eager to help, and would offer a kind word just when you needed it most. Kevin wasn't just a co-worker or a custodian, he was a friend, father figure, role model, and family member.
This morning, as I stood before our staff and spoke of our loss, I was overcome with emotion. I stepped out of "principal" mode and shed tears over the death of our friend. I choked up as I spoke of his kindness and the great sadness that was palpable in the room.
Knowing Kevin, he would want us to smile. He would want us to remember his legacy and continue the work of spreading kindness. That's the challenge I now place on myself -- to smile more, remember life's blessings, and to show kindness in a way that would honor Kevin and the impact he made on so many.