Let me tell you about the picture up above. It’s a picture my parents took of me with Anthony Vindel as they visited me at Maury for the first time a few weeks ago. The reason my parents were able to meet Anthony and capture such a great shot of us together was because Anthony was the kind of student who devoured knowledge. Some of you may recall the bulletin board of PreK work I had outside the studio for a while. On that board, were a series of questions with flaps asking viewers to interact with the display. One of these questions asked viewers to come up with a name for a funky line I had drawn. As you lifted the flap, the message below read, “Come inside and ask Ms. Bomba what she would name this line.” Of the 300+ students at Maury, the parents and the faculty, Anthony Vindel was the ONLY person who came into my room and inquired. “Ms. Bomba,” he asked, right in front of my parents. “What would you name that line out there on your board?” I told him. He shrugged his shoulders, had me follow him into the hall, and proceeded to tell me what he would have named it. We then discussed the information on the board. I told him about Frank Lloyd Wright and he expressed his opinions about Van Gogh. As a first year teacher, I cannot tell you how meaningful it was for me to have a student take learning so seriously. Anthony was always the one asking to bring home supplies to practice with or questioning how things worked. I will take his spirit, his thirst for knowledge, and his curiosity with me forever. I will encourage other students to learn from Anthony’s approach to education and never will I forget the gift of knowing him, however short, and how much he helped me confirm that teaching is the job for me.
One of the most dynamic student’s I’ve ever taught–Anthony was an artist, a scholar, an athlete, and a friend. Montana does such a nice job of illustrating the dynamic layers of his friend’s unique mind. Montana said to me, “This is Anthony’s brain. These are all the layers and colors inside his head. This is what he was all about.”
The art studio was a favorite place of Anthony’s. The 5th graders and I used our studio time on Monday to write down and illustrate our memories of him. Some students created books full of anecdotes for Anthony’s family while others folded his favorite origami figures and paper footballs to express his playful side.
During After School, the 3rd and 4th graders came to the studio to create a handful of cheerful bookmarks for Anthony’s funeral service. Because Anthony was such an avid reader and lover of books, the page holders seemed like the perfect way for his family to nestle his memory into their personal thoughts and prayers. Mrs. Albert-Garvey delivered our small gifts to his mother the night before his service and I was told that she was very moved by the gesture. In the midst of all her pain, never once has she stopped thinking about Anthony’s friends and teachers. She has told us how important it is to her that we all focus all our love and prayers on our students so that they may remain strong, united, focused and curious students. We can most certainly do that for her, and for Anthony. Let’s hope that the Maury family will never have to experience such a tragic loss again. Anthony will surely be missed but not forgotten.