About ten days ago, Mike, one of our math teachers, was riding his bike to school and was hit by a car. He suffered skull and facial fractures and a broken arm that would require surgery. He was making progress and was expected to recover. Wednesday afternoon our principal visited with Mike from 4 to 4:30. Fifteen minutes later, Mike died of a pulmonary embolism. We were all called to a mandatory meeting during Nutrition yesterday. We knew it couldn't be good news when we walked into the library - there were tissues at all the tables, and every high school counselor and psychologist in the district was there. The nutrition break was extended so that we could absorb the news and so that anyone who could not go back to their classes - mostly math teachers, as you would expect - could arrange for a counselor to take over for them. We went back and broke the news to our students. One of my girls started sobbing, and all were shocked and somber. Mike was "a cool guy," to quote the kids, and had been teaching at our school for eight years, so several had had him and most knew of him. We were able to send kids down to the counselors in the library if they wanted support, and there's a huge sheet of butcher paper on one of the walls that they can sign. Mike had very little family, so his school family is helping set up a celebration of his life next Tuesday afternoon. Tonight is Homecoming, and there will be a moment of silence for him before the game as well as in school today. Plans are going forward to create a memorial garden outside his classroom building and our scholarship foundation is setting up a memorial scholarship in his name. I didn't know Mike well, because we're all so compartmentalized at the high school. I remember him as the cheerful guy who would hold the door open for me once in a while when I ventured down to the faculty cafeteria for a soda; he was part of the group that ate there every day. But he was part of our school family, and we're all hurting. Give each other a hug today, folks. Life is precious.