She’ll always remember her beaming smile.
When Hume Elementary Principal Joanne Beddoes thinks about her student Alexis Nickolchuk-Oliver, who passed away in a car accident earlier this week, that’s the first image that comes to mind.
“I have so many memories of Alexis. We had a lot of conversations out on the playground, her and I,” Beddoes told the Star.
“Her smile is what always comes to mind. She was so full of life.”
And the students wanted to honour her, so together with the teachers they’ve created a roadside tribute to their classmate. They’ve tied blue and purple ribbons with hand-written messages to their fence in the shape of a heart.
“We wanted to have the kids do something that showed their support visibly, and the idea kept evolving as we brainstormed it. It helped them honour any memories they have and keep them alive, and you’ll see they’re over by the fence often these days.”
It’s been a tough week, she said, but they’ve tried to retain some normalcy.
“We’re allowing some flexibility around how we all need to grieve, and to help the kids understand and move forward. We’ve tried to maintain everything as a normal school day, but when we have to stop and address things we do.”
Special supports have been in place for the students, and district psychologist Todd Kettner spent time at the school this week. During their Christmas pageant the students wore a ribbon to remember her, and delivered this message: “We miss you, Alexis”.
Alexis’ memorial will be held at Hume Elementary on Monday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. in the gymnasium. Community members are encouraged to bring a star to put on a memorial tree. Fundraisers have been started to support the family.
“The request from the family is to make a star you can place on the tree so it can shine bright like Alexis’ life.”