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THS principal thanks community for support after student's death

Dear Editor,

Thomson High School would like to express its sincere appreciation for the support provided to our students and staff during the recent loss of junior Cheryl Helmly. Cheryl touched all of us with her smile, genuine concern for her fellow man, and sweet spirit; she truly did not have any enemies. Indeed, in this tragedy, the impact of her life has been evident in our community and among our students and staff.

During times such as these, it is a privilege to know that the community embraces the school system, its students and its employees. The THS administration would like to thank the individuals who supported our students and staff during this difficult period. Among these were many local clergy from every denomination; throughout the week, they cleared their schedules, listened to individual students, and visited Cheryl's classes to comfort her classmates. Words are not enough to express our gratitude for these remarkable men and women who responded to our call so promptly.

We are also grateful for the support of the entire McDuffie County School System, including the central office staff, other principals, and other faculties who shared in this loss. Within minutes of receipt of the news, counselors from other schools, school psychologists, and school social workers were on the scene. Teachers from around the system reached out to their former students and colleagues in a show of support. Their concern, empathetic listening, prayers and words of comfort were very important to beginning the journey toward healing.

Finally, the faculty and staff of Thomson High School, through its own tremendous grief, are to be commended for comforting and immediately attending to the needs of the students. The student body of Thomson High School, and particularly the Class of 2008, expressed its condolences and celebrated Cheryl through a candlelight vigil and handwritten messages for the family. Many of these students attended her funeral, a testimony to the impact of her life. It is in a time of crisis that true character is shown, and the Class of 2008 and rest of the student body showed its remarkable character this past week.

Though there is no human explanation for death and while we still grieve, we are thankful for the time we shared with Cheryl. It is our sincere hope that the community will continue to keep the Helmly family in its prayers.

With appreciation,

Rudy Falana
Thomson High School Principal

Web posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007

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