Last weekend I spent some time watching football. Not the Patriots-- The Marshfield Rams. Not the High School Rams-- the 8 and 9 year old team. I was wondering, as I wandered into the stadium, why they were be-decking it in orange balloons and streamers. And then the Rams took the field in green and white-- with flaming orange socks.
Stephen Bandera was the reason for the brilliant splash of color. A student at Marshfield High, he passed away last spring at the age of 16. Orange was his favorite color.
Since the game I have had Stephen, and the heart-felt support shown him, in my mind. We hear so much about teens that is negative, nasty, and dismissive. That attitude bothered me a lot when I was teaching, and it still does. I've always found it to be untrue. I've always been moved by how good, generous, and supportive kids can be when the chips are down.
Stephen has been gone for a while now, but his classmates refuse to let him go. They've kept his memory alive, kept his spirit in their hearts, and have continued to do good in his name. They had a raffle at the game... they've run marathons, and more. This young man will not be forgotten.
Too often people gleefully point out the bad, celebrate the mis-steps, and criticize the flaws. I was really proud to be a Townie this weekend. I usually am. But seeing kids care with a fierceness that simply will not relent-- to grip Stephen's memory so tightly, even half a year after his death, made me incredibly grateful we have such terrific kids in this town. I found myself wishing very much that I had known this young man.
They really do get it right more often than we give them credit for.
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