BLETCHINGTON Public School student Rachel Chaim said “Mrs Parkes” was a teacher she and her fellow students admired greatly.
The Year 6 student, her classmates and the school’s teachers paid tribute to deceased former librarian Kerri Parkes in a touching memorial service at the school on Monday.
“She’s been such a great teacher and I wanted to pay my respects,” Rachel said.
“She’s done a lot for the school and she deserves to be recognised.”
Bletchington deputy principal Philippa Hughes said students suggested planting a magnolia tree to allow Mrs Parkes’s legacy to flourish.
“Purple and pink were her favourite colours,” Ms Hughes said.
“Every year when the magnolia tree flowers that will remind us of her.”
Students and teachers will also plant a field of daffodils underneath the tree to represent her close connection as a supporter of the Cancer Council.
“Every spring those daffodils will flower and it’s a lovely way to acknowledge her,” Ms Hughes said.
She said the book fair was planned by Mrs Parkes several weeks before she died in a car accident in August.
The event was postponed to give members of the school community time to grieve.
“There was a lot of grief in our school community,” she said.
“We thought this was a lovely way to celebrate her life and the contributions she has made to our children.
“She was someone who was full of fun, she loved to celebrate and loved a costume.”
Ms Hughes said Mrs Parkes meant “a great deal” to members of the school community.
“As a teacher you might only engage fully with the students you have in your class but she touched all of her lives,” she said.
“She did lots of work with public speaking and debating so she was involved in many of the exciting things that happened in our school.”
Ms Hughes said the overall commemoration to Mrs Parkes was very “fitting” to her spirit and her love for teaching and reading.
“She would love it,” she said.
“She would want to be remembered in a positive and fun way. That’s the sort of person she was.”
Parents of the school community were asked to donate a book to the library in Mrs Parkes’ name. Many parents who were unable to attend donated a book on the day.