South River Principal Sends Letter Home Regarding Classmate’s Passing
A senior at South River High School died over the weekend following an extended battle with liver disease. South River High School Principal Will Myers is sending the following letter home with students today to help parents begin a conversation with teens about coping with grief. Counselors at the school are available to talk to students and faculty.
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am writing you today to let you know that we have lost a member of our South River High School family. Josh Mackin, a senior at our school, died yesterday after a long battle with liver disease.
Josh had spent considerable time on the list for a liver transplant and bravely battled his disease. He attended school whenever he could and when he could not, our school system provided instruction for him at home.
Josh was a student in our AVID program and was very well-liked by classmates and teachers. He had a wonderful attitude about his illness, and never let it keep him from being kind and positive.
Students and staff members were informed of Josh’s death today, though some had already heard it by the time they arrived at school this morning. Our school system made counselors available today to assist any students or staff members who felt the need to talk about their feelings. We will continue to make counselors available for as long as necessary.
I encourage you to talk openly with your child about this sad event, and to help them understand that it’s OK not to have answers to every question. Children learn how to deal with grief by watching adults deal with grief. Please do not be afraid to express your emotions in front of your children. Healthy outlets of emotions can be a valuable lesson for them.
Our school has reached out to Josh’s family and has offered whatever resources we can provide.
A celebration of Josh’s life will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 12, 2012, at the George P. Kalas Funeral Home, located at 2973 Solomons Island Road in Edgewater. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at Holy Family Catholic Church, located at 826 W. Central Avenue in Davidsonville. If your child wishes to attend either of these events, we strongly encourage you to accompany him or her.
Death is never an easy thing with which to cope, but when it comes to someone so young, it is even more difficult. As has been the case in the past, I know that our school and community will rally together to help each other and the Mackin family.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the school if we can be of assistance.
William T. Myers