Source: Sherman Publications

Remove Images

Honoring teacherís memory with a tree

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

May 02, 2012

Sometimes even the briefest of moments can create lifelong memories.

At least that's how the kids of Scripps Middle School's eighth grade feel about former theatre teacher Ian Young. Young taught at the school for three years until he was forced to leave due to health issues. In the summer of 2011, he finally fell to his lifelong illness - cystic fibrosis.

Earlier in 2012, Scripps's National Junior Honor Society decided the memory of the teacher was not sufficient and set in motion plans to make Young's time at the school last as long as the school itself. With the help of Art Teacher Michele Griswold, the students settled on planting a tree which, as of April 27, stands near the entrance drive of the school.

"He was 26 when he passed and my current eighth graders had him when they were in sixth grade," said Griswold. "He was a kind and free spirit, he loved music and he loved acting. He was an inspirational teacher and he could get the kids excited about what he was excited about. He wrote his own music, he loved that whole arts part of life and he just loved to teach."

Cystic fibrosis is a disorder that affect a number of systems, most notably the lungs. Young left the school in 2010 after his medication made him too fatigued to perform his duties.

He was on the waiting list of a lung transplant when he passed last year. Griswold said despite his young age, his parents were excited he was living as long as he did considering doctors told them their son would not live to see kindergarten.

The eighth graders decided the best way to offer remembrance with the tree was plant it where it could be seen if Young was still there - outside the theatre room.

"We decided to honor his memory where the theatre kids could see it outside their room," said Griswold. "Every time it blooms now it will let us remember Young. It's a flowering crab tree so it looks good against the brick and it's right a place where everyone will see it."

The National Junior Honor Society raised money for the installation with donut sales, which are sold after-school every wednesday. High school students also came to provide community service as well. The money is used for a plethora of different purposes, including donations to the Orion Oxford FISH program and to help the needy during the Christmas season.

The society is selected based on their GPA and citizenship. They do service projects throughout the year.