Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Never Said Thanks...

"We all mold one another's dreams.  We all hold each other's fragile hopes in our hands.  We all touch each other's hearts."

My path only crossed hers once...only one brief moment four years ago at a Back to School Night.  At the time, my daughter was a freshman and she was the art teacher.  She was exuberant.  She was warm and friendly.  She was passionate about art and grateful to be teaching it. She had such a great energy to her that I wanted to linger and I did.  I walked around her room slowly searching the pictures for clues to this person.  I wanted to know more of her story. I remember feeling so grateful that Mary Kate got to spend 50 minutes of every day at school with this warm light of acceptance and encouragement.  I left without telling her that.  In my mind it was enough to just feel it in my heart.  I left without looking her in the eye and thanking her.  I moved on into a dark night and a busy life.

Now it's too late.

Yesterday, Kathy Carlisle, was struck by a train while taking a photograph.

"It is with great sorrow that I share with you the loss of a valuable member of our St. Francis community, Kathy Carlisle. 

Kathy, a beloved member of our faculty in her sixth year teaching art, painting, sculpting, and photography was struck by a train Saturday near the school doing what she loved - engaging in her passion for photography. Her family was notified by authorities Saturday evening.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kathy’s husband Steve Jarvis and children Will, Bianca, and Violet, who is a freshman at St. Francis.

Kathy was a passionate artist, and dedicated teacher to her students. She possessed the ability to teach students to connect to their audience through art and showed them the incredible power of photography to tell a story or convey a message.

The entire St. Francis community mourns this tremendous loss of our colleague Kathy. We reach out to her family and close friends and hold them in our thoughts and embrace during this difficult time."

 She was pursuing her passion and engrossed in the moment.  Our world lost a bright light.  We lost a teacher who cared.  We lost a woman who took the time to connect with her students.  She said hi every day to Mary Kate this year, four years later, because once she was your teacher, she was always your teacher.  We lost someone who cared deeply; who molded hearts and minds and helped awkward teen-age girls feel beautiful and smart through art and photography.  Her sunshine is gone and we all feel the loss.

So, Kathy Carlisle, thank you for your love and energy and time.  I'm grateful we crossed paths if only one time.  You lived your life well.  You showed an entire high school of girls how to mix motherhood and teaching and art into a beautiful palette.  That won't be forgotten.  Your handprint is on Mary Kate's heart...and many others.  Your legacy is your love and warmth...and your art

Thank you.

**This piece of art is from a student at St. Francis High School -- I do not know the artist. **


  1. Beautiful. God bless her soul.

  2. This is such an immense tragedy for her family, school, and community. She sounds like an inspiring, loving teacher, and I am so sad she won't be able to continue to share her gifts and heart. I am glad Mary Kate got to have her as a teacher. Thank you for sharing her story.