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opinion Cottage Grove, 55016
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

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.

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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.

Robin Fate

Cottage Grove Middle School counselor

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