About 800 people crowded into the Decatur High gym on Monday to mourn Stacey Daniel, the Renfroe Middle School teacher who died late last month.
Maureen Downey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution attended the event and wrote about it in her Get Schooled blog.
If anyone doubts the power of a teacher, even a teacher in the classroom for only 10 years, to change lives, the testimony last night would have shattered that view. Twenty-two students and colleagues shared memories of Ms. Daniel. Five poets celebrated her in verse. The dance team honored her in movement. Choir members sang about her.
And everyone cried.
The stories were extraordinary. Students talked about transferring to Renfroe Middle School midyear and feeling lost and alone until they met Ms. Daniel, who made sure they were included. Kids grief stricken from a death in their families were treated to Hawks games. She took girls out for ice cream and to the mall. Asked to send work to a student housebound with a broken leg, Ms. Daniel showed up in person with balloons, food and good books. And she kept visiting. One college student recalled a kind phone call from Ms. Daniel after her grandmother died.
Read the whole blog. It's very moving. Ms. Daniel, 34, taught language arts at Renfroe Middle.