Remember Angela

Angela was a student in my very first Advanced Composition class who tragically passed away in a car accident one year ago today. Angela was meant to do great things–she was a peacekeeper, a smiler, a hugger, and one of the sweetest, most innocent students I’ve ever had. Her idealism and desire to always appreciate the “small joys” in life is something I will never forget. 

Many students met this morning at 7:30 around the flagpole to remember Angela and pray for her and her family. We also wore pink and blue, her favorite colors, in her honor. I wore my pink and blue butterfly dress because of her love for the delicate creatures. 

Because Advanced Composition was one of her favorite classes, I was given money from her family to spend on the class in her memory. I have been thinking long and hard about the best way to honor Angela, and yesterday as I was reading a book serendipitously lent by a good friend, I figured it out.

Because Angela loved to write, and one of the overwhelming themes in her journals were “appreciating the small joys in life,” I am going to buy a class set of the book I was lent this weekend, Life is a Verb. The author, Patti Digh, was inspired to write after her father lost his battle to cancer only 37 days after being diagnosed. The asks, “what would you do if you had 37 days left to live?” and shares “witty, literary, and inspiring life stories that illustrate six core practices for living without regrets, no matter how many days you have left.” Each chapter offers journal topics and ways for the reader to put the practices into action in their everyday lives. Digh is also an advocate for organ donation, one way Angela was able to save others’ lives after her passing.

I have spoken with the author and she has also agreed to write a personal note as well as “Remember the small joys in honor of Angela Faith Kania” for each book. She may even be able to come to Fort and speak to the students, as well as meet my class. I also want to encourage the kids to add art and pictures in their journals as they write, and perhaps send them to Snapfish or another printing company to be made into real “books” at the end of the semester. In a way, we’ll be making our own versions of Life is a Verb and I hope it’s something my students can carry with them forever, always reminding them to “appreciate the small joys of life.”
I thought this would be a wonderful way for her memory and beliefs to ultimately touch the lives of countless students for years to come.
Thank you Valerie, for introducing me to Life is a Verb, thank you Patti Digh, for your inspiration and kindness, and thank you Angela, for all you taught us.

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