William Sprankles @wsprankles

An Open Letter to All in Viking Nation

An Open Letter to All in Viking Nation:

I was reflecting on my drive home today about my school day, which ended with a staff meeting concerning the passing of a PHS student, and then our athletic signing.  I have to admit, learning the previous evening of another loss had me thinking from the standpoint of “not again.”  That was my thought as a couple of graduates texted me asking what were the details.  I could not provide any, but after seeing some postings on facebook, I had the sinking feeling of “here we go again.”  Then I caught myself and realized that each situation is different, for each family and each time we go through this.  I am not sure if there is a manual or an exact science to address grieving students, but I feel like each time is a first for me because it is always different.  But I feel I learn from each situation.

I did not know Keondre, but I do have his sister in class.  I did not get to see her today, so I will hope she attends class tomorrow but will understand if she prefers other areas/people for comfort.  Watching our 10th graders in my classes today just shows the resiliency of their class and all students in the Princeton district. Yes, my class kind of conducted “class as usual”,  but it was not usual. Young men and women were quiet, small tears running down their cheeks, heads down just staring into space involved in their own thoughts somewhere, but not one………and I mean not one, stopped doing their classwork.  It was amazing to watch and see this go on.  Answering questions, quietly working on their notes or problems.  It was totally humbling to me to watch this.  Today, despite the circumstances, the students pushed through.  Completely amazing.

At times I am asked why I teach, and I reply that it started early in my life for wanting “to teach and coach”.  I am also asked about how can I do it day after day after day?  I just say, “I dunno.  I just do my thing.”  I know throughout our high school and in every building of our district, all of the teachers “just do their thing.”  We may never know how deeply we really touch our student’s lives, but on a day when………young men and women were quiet, small tears running down their cheeks, heads down just staring into space involved in their own thoughts somewhere, but they did not stop working……..each one of us may see a small glimpse of the difference we make on them.  Or the difference they make on us.

Rest In Peace Keondre Patterson,

Hail to a Fallen Viking – 24/7 Princeton Pride.

Bob Fritz

PHS Math Teacher

CC Coach


6 comments on “An Open Letter to All in Viking Nation

  1. Randy Wilhelm
    February 6, 2013

    Bob. Thank you for your note. It was moving. I’d suggest the answer to your question “Why do I teach” may be, in part, Love. Yes, you probably knew you loved kids and being with kids the time you made the decision to enter this profession, and it is probably why you stay. It is why you wrote the post, when you didn’t have to. It is why kids respond to you and you to them. Your love for the kids, even when they don’t “deserve” it, is what brings you meaning and purpose. It is your WHY. And the HOW of teaching is what seems to sometimes get in the way of your WHY. Hang in there. I was just getting to know Keondre, and I found him curious yet cautious, and on the edge of doing great things. Rest in Peace, Keondre.

  2. Lauren Lillenstein
    February 6, 2013

    Well said, my friend.

  3. Steve Moore (@St50moore)
    February 7, 2013

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Dionna Gray
    February 7, 2013

    Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I’m a 1995 Princeton Alumni and its things like this that makes me continually be a proud Viking. This helps a healing family, friend and community. May God continue to bless Viking Country!!

  5. Jo morgan
    February 7, 2013

    Death is a fact of life, but when it happens “out of order”, as it has all too often in our school community, the “the question is called” , with a lot of emotion and need for understanding. It brings each of us one step closer to our own mortality, face to face with something we all know is a reality that is kept at bay. Of course it is, life is for the living and that is what we all do. We continue on with life, It causes me to reflect on how i am living, am i thriving or just surviving. There is something to be learned from every bridge we cross. Being able to hold on to what serves us and letting go of what is not.. We all spend each day guiding young people who can not focus, they are lost. At times i truly think i am powerful enough to find their focus for them. If i could, how would that help them? it is their journey not mine. I am merely a person they meet along the way. What i can do is find my focus, my driste,. The energy, that i give off positive and negative effects everyone around me. Our light shines for them to follow. That is how i can guide them by focusing on my light and making it as bright as it can be. Namaste

  6. Georgia Ferguson
    February 8, 2013

    Awesomely put Mr. Fritz. Keep doing what you!

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