Her full name was Yelizaveta. I remember looking at that name before I met her and feeling bad because I knew that I was going to mispronounce it. However, when I met her at Meet & Greet, she came with supplies labeled "Liza". Sweet nickname for this little cutie. So, I went about calling her Liza (as did the rest of the class) for the better part of a month before I met her parents at Open House. They referred to her as "Lisa". The next day at school, I questioned her about how to pronounce her name and she too said, "Lisa". When I asked her why she didn't correct me all this time she said she didn't want to be disrespectful. That's the kind of girl she was ~ sweet, respectful, a bit shy. She was compassionate and kind, a friend to all. She easily navigated between the different social groups that begin to emerge in second grade. She was a little peacekeeper, always trying to bridge differences and bring everyone together when those inevitable squabbles would emerge. Liza grew to enjoy singing, playing the piano and gymnastics. She was one of the middle school's top students, excelling in gifted classes and an accelerated math program. She was a beautiful girl, so young and innocent. It's hard not to question why something like this would happen to her, to her whole family. But the only thing to do now is find a way to preserve her memory and celebrate her short life. Rest in peace Simanova family.
SunnyDays 8:28 AM
A not so sunny thing has happened in my little corner of the world. Sadly, I learned that one of my former students was among the victims of the recent Russian plane crash. Liza, both of her parents and 5 year old sister were all on board the plane and none of them survived. I had Liza in 2nd grade about 5 years ago. Her parents were wonderfully supportive and Liza was just a little angel.