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Take some good from school tragedy, Mitchell High senior says



Pasco County schools have endured their share of crises in the past weeks, including the death of Mitchell High School cheerleader Cierra Mamonoff. Such tragedies have brought out much grief. Mitchell High senior Abigail Oakes writes that she hopes something good also might result from the sadness.

Oakes wrote this column for her high school newspaper, the Hoofbeat, and shared it with the Gradebook:

January 19, 2011, a school was changed forever. 

Previously, we were like many large public schools: cliquey, separated, and somewhat indifferent to the goings-on of our community. 

Though, after the death of 15 year old sophomore Cierra Mamonoff, this all changed. Mitchell High School came together. 

Facebook exploded. Everyone’s news feed was covered with statuses reading “R.I.P” and “gone but never forgotten.” Multiple groups were created in her honor: advertising carwashes, green ribbons, memorials, and dedicated wardrobe suggestions. Sports teams devoted games to her, even tied green ribbons to their shoelaces and wrists in honor of her favorite color.

But, even more importantly, the drama subsided. Sure, it was not eliminated, but most things seemed rather petty when one started to think about what they would do if it were their friend who was gone. We were sympathetic, we were empathetic, and most of all, we were one.

Now, almost a month later, it is time to hang on to that unity; to refuse to let it fade away. If there is any lemonade to be made from this untimely lemon, it is that our school can change for the better. 

So, this is a call to every Mitchell student. Do not allow the overwhelming harmony to become distorted with time. Let us all take something constructive away from such an emotional event. Let us come to school everyday remembering that we have more in common than different, and let us stop and think before we send that angry text message or comment. 

On this day of love, let her change us. If we do anything in her honor, let it be this.

Visit the Gradebook on Saturday for an interview with Dr. David J. Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, who talks about the importance of schools handling grief properly for students and staffs.

[Last modified: Friday, February 4, 2011 1:37pm]


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