From a friend of mine, who I respect greatly, I recently heard that “the wound is where the light gets in.” On Friday (8.12.16) our Worthington Kilbourne Girls Water Polo team was in a terrible accident. The accident resulted in the tragic death of Worthington graduate Courtney Fisher and in the significant injury of four Worthington Kilbourne water polo players and Courtney’s mom. I think I can speak for our entire community when I say my heart is broken for the families involved in this accident.
This morning I was able to visit the families and our young ladies who are in the hospital. All of our girls are still in Toledo hospitals and are still in intensive care. As a community we are wounded. Yet, there is light. The overall feeling in the hospital is one of hopefulness. Currently, we believe that each of our girls will recover. They sustained significant injuries and it will likely be a long road of recovery. But today when I gave Betsey Fisher a new Worthington T-Shirt, she immediately found a way to get it on over her head and to pose for pictures with her friends. That’s what teenage girls do and we want nothing more than for our girls to return to being typical teenage girls.
And there has been much more light. I believe most every public school district in the Columbus area has reached out and offered us support and any resources we may need. The water polo and swimming community has been amazing. The team from Upper Arlington attended our vigil last night. The team from Napoleon sent well wishes and the President of St. Francis DeSales in Toledo visited our families in the hospital and offered any support our community might need while in Toledo. Our girls water polo coach has spent all of the last three days traveling back and forth to Toledo. While I was in Toledo this morning one of our teachers from Worthington Kilbourne High School came into the hospital room and I was told it’s the second day in a row he has made the trip.
Although it shouldn’t, sometimes it takes a tragedy such as this for us to stop our busy lives and focus on what matters most. I’ve seen people from all over Worthington and all over Ohio do just that and their response has been overwhelming. Our challenge will be to mobilize our resources and to make sure our response to helping our families is not short-term, but instead the long-term support that will inevitably be needed. Together we’ll meet that challenge.
I’m proud to serve the Worthington community. Our students will return to school on Wednesday of this week and while we’ve recently suffered a great tragedy, our professionals will rise-up and make certain that all 10,000 students who enter our doors receive a warm, kind, positive, and energetic start to their school year. It’s O.K. to be positive. We’re going to make sure this is an amazing school year in Worthington Schools. There is light. We’re WorthingtonStrong!
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent