“In the wake of such tragedies as Columbine, Blacksburg and Sandy Hook, Talladega County Central High students felt a need to do something that would make a difference in the lives of those affected by such tragedies and offer assistance in dealing with the difficult days ahead,” Jemison said.
Inspiration for the project came from a novel Jemison assigned to her students called “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom.
“They made a real world connection with the main character, Eddie, who is killed while trying to save a little girl from being crushed by a falling amusement park ride. When he awakes, he is in heaven and has to meet five people who all teach him valuable lessons about himself and others. Each lesson helps Eddie understand his purpose in life. One lesson that particularly stands out and speaks volumes to us today is the quote from the first person Eddie meets in heaven, who is referred to as The Blue Man. His lesson for Eddie is as follows: ‘There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. The human spirit knows, deep down, that all lives intersect. That death doesn’t just take someone, it misses someone else, and in the small distance between being taken and being missed, lives are changed.’”
“It is on this premise,” she said, “that the students at TCCHS will strive to empower other students who are dealing with school violence.”
The program encompasses original poetry, a YouTube Channel and a blog space for condolences and conversations.
Although the immediate inspiration came from the massacre at Sandy Hook last week, it will not end with the survivors of that particular tragedy.
“I want this to be an ongoing project,” Jemison said. “We want to support any school that is coping with the aftermath of violence.”
Contact Chris Norwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.