This week one of my colleagues, Thelma Magsombol, passed away due to breast cancer. She had battled it for about five years and on Tuesday morning, she went home to the Lord.
We had a planned faculty meeting after school on Tuesday with lots of things to discuss. See, the thing about my school is that it's crazy. I mean, really. There's always some drama or incompetence or ridiculousness going on. I sometimes get asked why I stick around. Why not find a "normal" school?
But on Tuesday afternoon I remembered why I stay. After a moment of silence, people shared thier memories of Ms. Magsombol. The word "gracious" was used over and over. Thankful, kind, funny were said repeatedly as well. Ms. Magsombol was a very godly lady and that also came up several times. Finally, Mr. Witte, one of our PE teachers said,"I know I'm probably not supposed to do this, and you can write me up if you want to, that's fine. But Ms. Magsombol was a devout Christian and I can't think of any better way to honor her than to bow our heads in prayer." He proceeded to lead our staff in prayer. Our principal cancelled the planned meeting and we headed out.
All week people have been talking. Cards are being passed around. Donations collected. People are going to the funeral in strong numbers on Saturday-I think one of our teachers is actually doing the eulogy. Our whole school is wearing pink tomorrow in memory of her. People mention that Mr. Witte leading us in prayer showed them a different side of him. I stopped to talk to Ms. Perea, who has been at Carnegie for 32 years, to thank her for what she shared on Tuesday. We were talking about how despite the fact that our school is crazy, as a staff we really take care of each other. And she said that it's always been that way at our school. Not every staff is like ours.
We have a staff organization called Carnegie Family. It usually involves lunches, potlucks, and the newsletter where we do "shout-outs" every month. But this week, as cliche as it might sound, I really did feel like our staff was a family. We lost one of our own this week, but I can say that throughout all of Ms. Magsombol's illness, I really remembered why I am thankful that I work here.