Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life is unpredictable...

I'm headed to Chat-town with a heavy heart. I lost a friend and co-worker last night. Jeni Sharpe, 34, mother of two amazing boys, died extremely unexpectedly. Jeni was a spark plug. She was smart as a whip, generous beyond generous, and funnier than a stitch. She was one of my first buddies at Gibbs.

Jeni only ever did what she thought was best for her students, which was a lot considering she worked with our special needs population. She opened her heart and took these children under her wing to give them not just a high school experience, but an enjoyable experience. She let them hang out with her sons and included them on weekend family trips to Dollywood or the zoo. She made sure they arrived at prom looking dapper and gorgeous. She ensured that their high school experience was full of memories despite them being a population of students that is oft ignored.

She never let politics and bureaucrats get in the way of doing what was best for her students. She turned her frustrations into what could have easily been a stand up comedy routine. Her impressions were hilarious. I always told her, "If you can't be nice, come sit with me!" I enjoyed her visits to my office. I loved working with her. Test scores, TEAM model, and TVAAS be damned, people like her make Gibbs High School. We lost a great teacher last night. A teacher that made me proud to be an employee at Gibbs High.

If Jeni could be here, I know she'd be pissed as Hell. She loved her family and had huge plans for her children. There is no lesson to be learned from this tragedy, but a reminder that we just never know. We must strive to enjoy each moment. Tell our family we love them often and be thankful for those opportunities.

Jeni would kick my ass if I didn't keep my chin up, have this retrieval done, and keep fighting this battle. She frequently told me I deserved to experience teenagers and toddlers and if I timed it right, preferably at the same time. So Jeni, here I go. Take care of my wee ones will ya? Love you and miss you!


Mary Katherine

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