Quote of the week: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Charles Dickens, writer
Dear Ocean Shore Families,
This past week has run the gamut. Last Saturday, I attended the K-2 event at Frontierland. It was so much fun to see parents and students outside enjoying the sun and each other's company. It was great to get to know more parents and to see the kids without their masks. Thank you to the PTO board for organizing; I think I had more fun than the kids!
Sunday was a harder day. TJ Nilsen, who attended Ocean Shore for 9 years and was just getting ready to graduate from Chico State, was killed by a drunk driver on March 6th in a hit and run accident on his way home from work. A memorial event was held at Linda Mar Beach. I was amazed by the number of former students and parents who attended. I hadn't seen many of his classmates since they graduated from Ocean Shore in 2014. These young adults spoke about TJ and their memories of Ocean Shore, high school and college. Their recollections were heartfelt and often humorous. TJ's mother, Jenna, was an art volunteer for years, as well as a therapist for many Pacifica teens, my daughter included. When she spoke, you could hear a pin drop on the beach. She somehow managed to be eloquent, funny and poignant, and she looked beautiful. (How is that humanly possible?) She said that she had already reached out to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), an organization that she hadn't really taken seriously in the past; an organization that was already helping her cope with the loss of her only child. When I hugged her after the ceremony, I said that I didn't know what to say, that she was living every parent's worst nightmare, that I didn't know how she was still standing. I will never forget her words. As she gestured towards TJ's tearful friends, she said, " It is my job to help them learn how to grieve, and in helping them, I will help myself." What grace and what a lesson for all of us. Even in our darkest times, thinking of others makes things better. TJ's death was a tragedy, but his life was anything but tragic. He was full of life, a wonderful friend, a successful student, and his smile could light up a room. He was empathetic and considerate even as a 13-year-old boy, and I was lucky to teach him for two years. Jenna and Terry, TJ's father, repeatedly thanked the Ocean Shore community for their support.
One of the tragedies of the pandemic is that we haven't been able to gather as a community. I thought of that over and over again this week as we celebrated Patty McNally's life and her contributions to Pacifica's children, as I reflected on the joy of gathering with excited K-2 students and parents, and as I grieved the death of a former student, but took solace in the embrace of Ocean Shore parents, teachers, and students, past and present. This place is special, and if you make the effort to connect and contribute to the Ocean Shore community, it will support you in the best of times, and in the worst.
Please consider making a memorial tribute donation to MADD in TJ Nilsen's name: https://secure.madd.org/page/22588/donate/1
Much love to all and hug your children especially close tonight,
COVID reporting: This is still important! Please remember to complete the return to school form if your child is out sick. ***OSS Return to School Form *** This week, we had all negative testing pools. We did have one positive case reported unrelated to the testing pools, so we conducted rapid tests on the students and teacher in that classroom and had no positive test results. As of March 28th, masks will be strongly recommended in the school building, but no longer mandatory. Please be a positive role model for your children and respect each family's decision. We are going to work hard as a staff to help the students support each other.
Book Fair: The book fair has been extended to Monday and Tuesday of next week!
PEF: Please see the Pacifica Education Foundation Winter Newsletter below, and contribute to PEF in 2022!
Tsunami Preparedness Week is March 21-25: Please check out the City of Pacifica's website for information: https://www.cityofpacifica.org/depts/police/natural_disasters/tsunami.asp. Luckily, Ocean Shore is not in the Tsunami hazard area, and nearby Oceana High School would be a care and shelter site for any local families that did have to evacuate.
Requests from the Office: The office is in need of Clorox type popup wipes and plastic grocery bags. Please parents, do not park in any spots that say staff. We continue to have issues with this, especially at pick-up. Please remind your children that they can't ride vehicles on campus, even after school, and that they must wear helmets.
Spring Pictures are April 6th: fliers to go home soon.
Fliers: March Lunch Menu, PEF newsletter, SMC library event, Walk & Roll to School contest, Portuguese and Spanish translations of my letter.
Principal of Ocean Shore. Check back here for weekly updates and messages from the principal.