The news of Tessa Beauchamp’s passing has been in all the papers…as well as in my heart and mind…since last Friday when I heard the news.
I had the honour of having Tessa enter my life years ago. As a teacher at Frost Road Elementary from 2001 to 2005, it was a treat to coach Tessa for three years on the basketball court, and to have her as a student in my grade seven class.
All you’ve heard about her…is true. She was smart, athletic, funny, kind to everyone, and determined! Most of all, she was always positive and never felt sorry for herself.
I came to learn that she was a burn survivor as a young girl, after the dress she was wearing caught fire. She shared the experience through a speech she wrote and presented at the school speech fest.
As she entered high school, I began to hear about her health struggles. She and her mom, Wendy, kept in touch through the years and I would beam with pride when I turned a page in the newspaper and read of Tessa’s accomplishments and perseverance.
And now with Tessa’s passing, I think that maybe…perhaps…a candle that shines as bright as Tessa did, is meant only to burn for a short time – far too short a time for those who knew her. It’s the only explanation I can come up with.
In the end, I’ve learned more from Tessa than she ever learned from me – to do your best, treat others with kindness, never complain or feel sorry for yourself, and never give up. It’s funny how a student can become the teacher and a teacher the student.
Tessa’s lessons will remain with me for life!