Sarah Ferguson Garcia was an English teacher at West Forsyth. She was a mother, sister, daughter, and my friend.
And I think of her every day when I walk into the 1000 building at West.
Next Saturday will mark a sad anniversary that I know so many acknowledge in their own way, either silently still grieving, talking about her, or remembering the positive impacts that even her smallest actions made on others.
I came across a cut out article of the Winston-Salem Journal‘s story about her and the impact she had on West Forsyth, her students, her friends, her family, her church.. I cried as my son was watching a video. We had come back inside from blowing leaves.
In the article, Jarrett Corder, as fine a young man as you could ever wish to know, said it best when he stated, “We lost a Titan.”
My first year at West Forsyth was spent mostly in Room 1027. Sarah’s room was next to mine – 1028. I instantly sensed a young woman whose humor, passion, concern, and enthusiasm were so contagious that she literally brightened everyone’s day. And it is easy to remember her in those days. Why?
Sarah Garcia wore life like a loose cloak.
Sarah Garcia fit into her own skin.
Sarah Garcia understood that loving others was a pathway to loving yourself.
Sarah Garcia intuitively knew secrets to a happy life and shared them with everybody.
Sarah Garcia was also absolutely hilarious. She and I both shared a love for the movie Napoleon Dynamite and could quote massive amounts of lines to each other. We could both imitate the “s’s”of Sid the Sloth in the Ice Age movies carrying on a dialogue that would leave others in stitches.
Sarah Garcia helped me more than anyone else in obtaining National Certification. She edited my portfolio and offered endless amounts of encouragement.
Sarah Garcia was one of the most complete teachers any student could have ever had a chance to learn from. And there were many adults who learned from her.
And she was one of the most patient people I will ever know.
For the past ten years, I have inhabited Room 1028. I still think of it as Sarah’s classroom. And for the keen eye, there are many items still in that room that are uniquely Sarah.
There is a Napoleon Dynamite figure behind my desk that was hers. There is a mini surfboard on my wall that was in her last classroom downstairs in the 1000 Building. There is a plastic salamander on my desk that reminds me of her. There is a name plate with her name on it that I keep on the edge of the opening of my lectern in the front of the room. I see it everyday when I being class.
She was delightful, and I miss her. I measured so many things in my life to a standard that she set. She was a mix of grace, gratitude, integrity, and boundless love for life.
However, I realized after losing another friend this past year that we often dwell on the circumstances that surround the departing of people from our lives. We can fall into a trap sometimes in talking about people in the past tense, when so many things are still present because we need to remember how they lived and how they still live in out lives.
Thinking about Sarah is evidence that her presence in my life is still present. It has not wavered in any way. Actually, she probably has more of a presence in some ways than ever before.
But I still miss her. So many of us do.
If Estaban or Milo ever read this, please know that you are thought of often at West Forsyth and we still think of you as family.