Beloved teacher, friend and mentor Steven Pierce left a mark on his students and the world around him. Through his art, education and personality, he not only influenced photos and drawings, but also the lives of so many people he met through the years.
Not even a week after his passing, student council and the high school photography classes rushed to plan a memorial to honor the person that has taught, and guided them through high school. On Wednesday, March 20 in the lower gym, the high school came together to honor the legacy Pierce left, and observe the art produced by his students.
Food and refreshments were provided by student council, while a slideshow with additional photographs was also displayed throughout the memorial. Anyone in the high school was welcome to attend and was encouraged to write down their favorite memory of Pierce, whether they were in his class or not. A moment of silence was observed in respect of Pierce, followed by a song sung by the high school choir.
Although the artwork displayed may have just seemed like photographs plastered across the gym, to Pierce’s students it served as an opportunity to showcase the impact he had as an educator, and the beauty that resulted from his teaching.
“Showing our art was a way to show everyone around us how influential, and what an amazing teacher he was. Doing this at least made me feel one last special moment with him that I will always remember,” senior and AP photography student Anne Ritz said.
Dealing with the loss of someone who shaped the lives of many is obviously not an easy task. Of course a memorial service reflecting on the life and significance of someone important to the school, is bound to have somber moments. However, the fact that a great number of students came in early on a Wednesday morning to honor Pierce, shows the high school’s strong resilience and ability to come together and heal.
No matter how well one knew Pierce, the high school is full of support for one another and is bound to get through the midst of adversity as a whole.
“The most moving part of the memorial, personally, was seeing non art students and teachers that were not even a part of Pierce’s art program. They would see our work and have a whole new appreciation of the art program and Pierce,” junior and honors photography student Patrick Houlihan said.
Whether the artwork shows it or not, the lessons and knowledge Pierce and his classes have given students has left an lifelong imprint on them and their work. Public visitation for Pierce will take place on Friday, March 22 in the high school commons at 5:00, followed by a public memorial service in the auditorium.