Brookwood community comes together, outshines protests
After the Westboro Baptist Church announced they would be protesting a transgender elementary school student at Brookwood Elementary, the community didn't try to take on the church. Instead, they planned a get-together in the back lot and playground of the school — donuts, families, neighbors and more filled the lawn and Westboro was an afterthought.
I covered the event by talking to families in attendance and the SMSD superintendent for a story, as well as shooting the gathering for an attached photo gallery.
Obituary: John Nickels
John Nickels was a teacher that never really left East. Teachers who knew him best also knew he was always a positive influence on students — whether it was the over 55 trips he took students on or the traditions he kept with them.
One beloved tradition involved assigning students to write letters to themselves in class. Three years after their graduation, he would send them the letter.
It's one thing to sit with subjects and discuss topics that bring both them and yourself to tears. But sitting with teachers — some of whom I'd had classes and close relationships with — to pay tribute to Nickels's life was a privilege that will stay with me forever as well.
The 7:20 Statement
Shortly after the widely attended board meeting (shown at the top of this page), teachers spoke up about their recurring meetings at the SME flag pole before school to show their disapproval of district action and the continued negotiations. Students, parents and community members then gathered together and stood outside the school for 20 minutes before classes began.
I covered the event and shot a gallery for it. It also established my beat of covering the district's teacher salary negotiation situation (and taught me to always be ready for new developments).