Principal's Message, 3/25/18: Dear Addison Families,

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 10:15pm

This has been a very hard week for many of our students, families, staff members and myself.  I sent a message on Monday night to all parents regarding the passing of one of our beloved 5th graders, Nathan Carlsen.  I had the great fortune of knowing Nathan as our family developed a close relationship with the Carlsens four years ago and Nathan was a good friend to my 5th grade daughter, Caitlin. Nathan was one of a kind- sweet, gentle, patient, silly, and above all, brave.  His smile lit up a room and throughout all the challenges of this past year, he maintained a positive attitude.  I will always be grateful for his presence in the lives of our family and school.

As I personally grieve this tragic event, I am also grateful for the different supports and experiences this past week. Addison has been wonderfully supported by our district mental health team, site based mental health personnel and KARA, a community resource to support grieving children, teens, families, and adults. They worked closely with me over the past year when we learned of his diagnosis and this past Tuesday, when we spoke to the 5th graders about Nathan's death. Our 5th graders were amazing in the way they could articulate a range of emotions related to the death and their changing needs as the week continued.  Our PTA responded immediately by delivering flowers to the school on Tuesday and providing us with breakfast and lunch throughout the week.

The PTA is continuing to find ways to support the Carlsens through this difficult time. On Wednesday night, we had a Parent Ed. session to consider how to support our grieving children.  Once again, our district and site professionals were present along with a KARA counselor who led the meeting.  We had a small intimate group and parents were very open about their fears and insecurities regarding the best ways to support kids when responding to death.  The openness of our community this past week has been astonishing and provided wonderful opportunities for healing.

The most transformative experience for me throughout this ordeal is witnessing the strength, love, compassion, and transparency of the Carlsen family and what is possible when facing the unimaginable.  They brought many of us along on this journey and somehow always found opportunities to express gratitude for the many wonderful friends and supports in our community. Despite my great sadness, I could not be prouder to be a part of the Addison community as a parent and principal.

So as we prepare for Spring Break, I wish you valuable time spent with your children and connecting with the amazing families at Addison.  I will be spending time in nature visiting Mt. Zion and Bryce Canyon with my girls and sharing memories and love for Nathan Carlsen who will always be in our hearts.


Amanda Boyce


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