Loss & Resilience

"In addition to all of the changes that 2020 was throwing at me, this devastating loss brought me to my knees in a way that I had never imagined."

Literacy Facilitator

Literacy Facilitator

Piedmont IB Middle School

Piedmont IB Middle School


I MISS MY MOTHER. My mother passed away from the effects of COVID-19 in December. It happened suddenly and at a time in my life when I needed her the most. She was my biggest advocate, she was my greatest teacher, and she was the first memory I had of life. In addition to all of the changes that 2020 was throwing at me, this devastating loss brought me to my knees in a way that I had never imagined. I also lost a colleague of mine suddenly and unexpectedly. This individual was one of the nicest people I ever met in my life. He was greatly valued at my school and I was looking forward to spending more time with him in my new position.

When schools closed in March I was in the process of recovering from an ischemic stroke that I suffered while teaching in February. I was also in the process of transitioning into a new position within the school. I was overwhelmed with a series of emotions. At times I felt like I was drowning, not knowing how I would fit into this new position, and not knowing if my body would fully recover (the stroke took away a portion of my eyesight). At the same time I felt excited about facing new challenges. I realized that life would never be the same for me, mentally, physically, or professionally.

I’ve learned that I have the inner strength to persevere through ANY AND ALL OBSTACLES. In my lifetime I have had to deal with things that some people only read about, from being in Manhattan during 9/11, to suffering an aortic dissection and having emergency open heart surgery in 2016, to the stroke and all the other craziness of 2020, I learned that I am much stronger than I thought.

I learned the importance of forgiveness and redemption. Everyone has to acknowledge and take responsibility for their own shortcomings, and then take the proper steps to heal and become a better person. Everyday you wake is a new opportunity to evolve into the person we want to be and the person you should be. You can’t worry about what other people think, say or do. You can only control your own thoughts and actions. Through all of our flaws, heartaches, and shortcomings, we as educators have to model the attributes of hard work, grit and perseverance. This is how we can make impressions on our students that will last a lifetime.

- David Milligan


explore staff stories

Madia Medico

“An Unfinished Story”

Christine Tymes

“Not What I Thought”

Tracy Custer

“Chromebook Window”

Earnest Winston

“Lessons to Last a Lifetime”

Amy McNelis

“I Need Visibility”

Zabrina Stephens

“It Takes a Village to Take Care of This Building”

Joyce Preston

“Honored to Serve”

Madeline Holly-Carothers

“Fires Every Day”

Lauren Fowler

“Not Defined by a Building”

Stephanie Donnis

“Healing the Wound”

Choncy Holman

“The Lunch Man”

Lexi Valentinas

“Keeping Relationships”

Transportation Team

“We Were Rolling”

Elyse Dashew

“Keep the Kindness Going”

Magnet Programs Team

“Connecting in Brand New Ways”

Ronny Reddig

“Learning New Things”

Kim Tuttle

“I Have Seen Students Thrive”

Virtually Unstoppable

“Bridging the Technology Gap”

Angela Blue

“More than Enough”

donate now

support our work

Projects like The Yearbook are made possible by generous donors like you. To help us continue elevating CMS student and educator voices, please consider a gift to the CMS Foundation. Public funding alone is not sufficient to provide our students and teachers the opportunities they need and deserve.

Donate Now