Thank You, Ms. Connor

June 8, 2015 marked the 10 year anniversary of the death of Sweetsir second grade teacher Ms. Jean Connor.


The current, or rather just graduated, senior class includes members of her last class, myself included. We have not forgotten Ms. Connor, nor the impact she had on all of our lives.


She went above and beyond the suggested second grade curriculum, supplementing number scrolls with lessons on appreciating both visual and theatrical art. Notable pieces, ones I can remember 10 years later, include many of Georgia O’Keefe’s desert landscapes, the book My Father’s Dragon, and the musical Cats.


Ask anyone of her former students, and they will tell you, Ms. Connor adored cats. Her room was adorned with cat pictures, and the mural in the Sweetsir that was created in her memory features many of them. Even more than actual cats, she loved the musical.


All year long, she would play us songs from Cats at the end of the day. We all ended up knowing the songs by heart, singing them and crawling on the floor, pretending to be cats–as seven-year-olds are liable to do.


Eventually, she showed us the musical itself, and we all loved it. I still watch it from time to time, as do others from the class that I’ve asked.


News of her death devastated the class. On the morning of June 8, 2005, she died as the result of an automobile accident on the way to school.


Students were not told of her death that morning–no one was quite sure what had happened until later. We made her get well cards, but later that day, when we all got home, our parents told us the news.


The next day, we talked about it in class. The principal, Mrs. Jervey came in, and shared her memories of Ms. Connor with us, answering our questions and letting us cry.


Though we may have graduated now, Ms. Connor’s last class, we will never forget the positive impact she had on us. She kindled an appreciation and love of the arts in us, she inspired us all to replicate her kindness, and she was truly a wonderful teacher.


Thank you, Ms. Connor.