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Tulsa school keeps memory of former student alive

Posted at 5:44 PM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 18:44:33-04

TULSA -- Two Works For You got an exclusive first look at Hamilton Elementary's new outdoor classroom, which teachers say holds the memory of a former student who passed away last year.

It started out as an idea about two years ago.

"We have so much land out here at Hamilton that we knew that we could really use this space," said Danielle Terrio, Special Education Teacher at Hamilton Elementary.

Hamilton Elementary wanted to utilize the 18 acres of land by planting trees and garden, but about a year ago, their plans were uprooted.

"We suffered a really tragic loss at Hamilton in the death of one of our second graders," said Terrio.

Lily, at just seven-years-old, tragically passed away after an apartment fire in the summer of 2017.

The school was more inspired than ever to have her memory rooted on campus.

"We felt her really embodied by a willow tree," said Terrio.

But it didn't stop there. The school is about to open an outdoor classroom a year later, with Lily on everyone's mind.

"She loved to be outdoors, she didn't like to be inside really, so she would’ve loved it," said Ashley Thomas, Lily's mother.

The classroom will have veggie plots, a reading space, music center, a stage, and a rotunda in the center for teaching space.

"Take down those four walls, learning happens in every moment of our lives," said Terrio.

Teachers want Lily's family to know that every project that helps the school grow, Lily is a part of.

"It means a lot really, because it just means that somebody else is thinking about us and her and that they can keep her spirit alive," said Thomas.

The grand opening of Hamilton's outdoor classroom is this Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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