Ruiz was a positive in students' lives
I was in the media center at Park High School on the morning of April 15 to help students deal with their grief after the loss of Rita Ruiz, who I had never had the pleasure of meeting. It was a humbling experience.
Student after student kept saying things like: she was like a mother to me; she helped me with my depression; she treated us all fairly; she knew when to give us a break; she could tell if I was down and could cheer me up; she even let me call her on her cellphone over the weekend; I could tell her anything and it would stay with her; and she was closer to me than my parents.
The passing of Ruiz is a testimony to the power of personal presence in the lives of students. The little things matter and Ruiz clearly understood the not-so-simple gift of connecting with individuals.
Some of Ruiz's finest eulogies have already been spoken. I was privileged to hear them and be reminded once again as to what really matters when I walk into a school building. It was a morning I will never forget.
Cottage Grove Middle School counselor