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January 30, 2011

COLUMN: County grieves for those lost

CHICKASHA —  

Life's harshest lessons can be tough to face at any age, but it just doesn't seem fair when they come so early in life.

Our community has been touched by the loss of three young people just this week and four total since September. Our family at The Express-Star extends heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones.

It's hard to make sense of these tragedies and the question of why so many in such a short period of time comes to mind. I know the administrators at our high schools – Chickasha and Verden – will do the best they can to bring in support for our children, while they juggle trying to continue with day-to-day education responsibilities.

I don't know the Verden principal personally, but I have had the opportunity to interact with Chickasha High School Principal Beth Edwards on different occasions. I have a lot of respect for Beth. She seems to have all the right mix of what you would want and expect in a high school principal.

She's firm. She's tough. She's knowledgable. I don't think too many kids can pull the wool over her eyes, although they try every year.

I've heard the compassion in her voice when she talks about the young people she interacts with – even the ones who give her a run for her money. She's compassionate. She cares. She will do the very best job she can to make sure our children's emotional needs are met, while keeping the best possible learning environment going.

On Friday morning I tried to give Beth a call. Sadly, she was attending the funeral of a student who had died earlier in the week. Just dealing with the death of one student in a school year is tragedy enough, but how do you deal with multiple ones? Although the two boys killed in the accident Thursday were currently attending Verden, one of the boys had attended CHS and played baseball. Verden and Chickasha are close communities, with family and friends and businesses interacting on a daily basis.

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