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Walking to Remember

The+sign+marked+the+entrance+of+the+stadium.+
The sign marked the entrance of the stadium.

The sign marked the entrance of the stadium.

Jaylee Cortes

Jaylee Cortes

The sign marked the entrance of the stadium.

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Typically the Charter Oak track and field is used by athletes to warm-up for their games, but on Feb. 3 the track was more than just a field. Instead of being used competitively, it was used to unite the Charter Oak community  in a Remembrance Walk, an annual event to remember those who have passed away.

Beginning at 9 am on Saturday the field’s gates were unlocked, and in an amicable, peaceful, and serene mood as counselors, retirees, students, teachers, and community members circled the track. At the entrance, the middle, continuation, and elementary schools provided paper hearts to write the name of the person being remembered. Sponsored by the Charter Oak COmmunity Scholarship Foundation, the Remembrance Walk is also supported by several CO clubs who helped set up and take down the event. ASL and Earth Club also provided additional hearts for people to write on, and ASB supported the walkers by providing bottled waters and donuts.

Dr. Mike Hendricks, superintendent, said,  “[The Remembrance Walk] is a great time to remember the people who have passed away, either family or previous employees. I think that’s what everybody really focuses on when they are here, and that’s also a really great opportunity to talk to people from the district.” In addition to remembering those who have passed away, it also is an opportunity to raise money for senior scholarships. Dr. Hendricks said, “[…] [O]ur student scholarship foundation does a fabulous job giving scholarships out; last year they gave out almost $40,000 in scholarships.”

The number of people who come vary each year, Dr. Hendricks said, “Overall, we’ve had a good size group: people come and go all morning long. I think it’s great that each year I see more and more students attending.”ASB sound technician Andrew Milazzo, senior, said, “I’ve been going all four years, and it’s a little bit different this year because of the number of people that show up.”

Mrs. Pat Nixon, former CO teacher and current COCSF president, explained how the Remembrance Walk began. “It was a year where we had a number of student deaths. We lost two boys in an automobile accident and several students to health concerns, and in addition, one of the counselors Mrs. Louise Major lost her  mother. She had the idea that we needed a day to remember people that we had lost. This was particularly apt for the high school because of the number of students deaths that year. Mrs. Major then went to the teachers association and the scholarship foundation and asked them about setting something like this up,” Mrs. Nixon  said, “Over the years we have built the Remembrance Walk as a good fundraiser as well as a way of saying we remember,” she added.

Imani Saffery, senior, said, “I like that I can get out of the house and walk to remember. I’m remembering my great grandfather, who died a few years ago.” A notably coordinated group of walkers wore matching shirts to commemorate Randy Acosta who died in a car accident and graduated from COHS in 2010. The support and encouragement from this event is rare in communities.

Andrew Milazzo said, “I like to remember all the people that we have loved and want to stay in our hearts. It feels great because this event brings a lot of people together.”

The 2018 Remembrance Walk successfully brought people together, remembered those who have passed away, and raised money for scholarships.

 

A large group walked to remember Randy Acosta, class of 2010.

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