Never, ever have the audacity to think that it’s impossible for life to get crazier than it already is. The moment you think that, you are proven wrong.
My last few posts have talked about the slew of bad things that have happened in my life and to those around me. One of these awful occurrences was a fire that all but destroyed my high school. When I posted yesterday, we didn’t know much other than that the fire had started in the main office and the smoke and water damage were extensive, likely making the school uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.
No one saw what was coming next. At about 6:30 last night, the Dickinson Press broke the news that the school’s principal had been arrested and charged with arson. This principal was new this year. He had been brought in from out of state (something that is pretty rare in my small North Dakota hometown). I have never met him personally, but I have heard stories from family and friends that they were unhappy with the job he was doing. His contract was not renewed for him to return next year.
Like I said, I’ve never met the man. And I’m trying to withhold any judgement until the evidence comes out and he stands trial. But if everything is true? I will be SO livid. I don’t care what has happened to you. You do not burn down a school that meant so much to so many people.
When I talk to my Notre Dame friends about this, they don’t get it. They agree that it’s a bad deal, but they don’t see why this building is so important to me. I LOVED my high school. My dad has taught and coached there since before I was born, so I basically grew up in that building. For 6 years of my life (the building housed grades 7-12) I learned, studied, and grew as a person in that building. I felt safe there. After I graduated, I usually stopped up to say hi to some of my teachers when I was home on breaks. It’s not just a school; it’s my family.
My youngest sister is a senior. She is taking this really hard. When I talked to her yesterday, she said something along the lines of “I just can’t believe it. If this was an accident or faulty wiring or something that’s one thing, but to know that our principal deliberately took so many things away from so many people is hard. I wanted to walk across the same stage at graduation that my parents, siblings, all my aunts and uncles, and many of my cousins walked across. Now I’m going to finish out my high school career in some loaner building, and that sucks.”
I’m trying to convince her (and myself) that what makes Trinity special had nothing to do with the physical space. It’s all about the people and the connections. It’s so hard to see a place that you love and that has so many memories literally go up in smoke.
My high school is a Catholic high school, which means they are going to have to rely on whatever they can get from insurance and then donations to rebuild. They have set up a relief fund on the school’s website. Now I’m going to ask for help. If you would like to donate, or you know anyone who might want to help, please PLEASE share this link. I would appreciate it so much, and so would the 250 kids who no longer have a school to attend.