Talon News - Good Local News



Our Healing Journey, We Do Not Walk Alone


January 26, 2018

December 7, 2017 is a date that will forever be remembered in our district. And as we move forward, we are getting stronger every day. Our prayers continue for Casey and Paco’s families who lost their children on that day, and we want them to know they will always be looked upon as heroes, angels and will forever be Aztec Tigers.

As with many things in life the healing process is a journey and from the very beginning it is one that we have not been on alone. This community, this county, the state and even many across the country have been with us shoulder to shoulder, and many times carrying us as we have been healing. We had a winter assembly at Aztec High School on January 12, 2018 to honor all the first responders and to say thank you to them for their assistance on December 7, 2017. This was an incredible gathering and an important part of our healing process, for us and the first responders as well. Our teachers and staff were also recognized for what they did on that day as their response also saved many lives and for that we commend them and will forever be grateful. It was stated by Undersheriff Ferrari that this incident has created a family between the first responders and all the students and the staff. I cannot agree more, and like the shirts the students wore on January 12th read, we now “Stand as One.”

There is another group that we also want to thank and those are the people that responded to help with recovery during and after the incident. Our Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, the Directors, and the Central Office staff that each had assigned tasks and they performed them masterfully. In many cases they took their office staff to help. It was an all hands on deck approach. We cannot say enough about the bus drivers that not only responded so quickly, but also took care of the staff and students in a very trying situation and transported them to Magee Park so they could be reunited with their families. I also want to thank all the other staff in the district that handled their students and staff at their sites. Many of the administrators and teachers at other schools had to make sure that all their sites, staff, students were safe and secure even though many had children at Aztec High School. ALL In, ALL The Time has been exemplified by the all the staff involved in the recovery and healing efforts. Our work and practice over the years with San Juan County Office of Emergency Management and the numerous table top exercises and practice drills, radio communications work, definitely helped us with smooth response. We thank you for our past work and the work we will continue to do with you.

Our counseling staff is carefully monitoring the progress of our students and staff and stands ready for students each day to ensure they are being taken care of in times of need. In addition to this, they have other ongoing services for students that will continue throughout the semester. There is no textbook on this when it comes to people dealing with grief, so we are committed to making sure that the high school has all the resources they need to take care of the staff and students. As we speak, we are still receiving help from other districts on an as needed basis. Over the course of our crisis, we had over 304 service providers from across the state here to help us, most of them came from across our great county. We will forever be grateful for their assistance. Governor Martinez and the current Secretary of Education, Secretary Ruszkowski, have been very supportive and we are very appreciative for all their support.

THANK YOU is not enough, but those are the words we have to say to everyone. Please know that they come from the bottom of our hearts, because we appreciate all the schools, the businesses, the individuals, the service providers, counselors, pet therapists, first responders and everyone that has contributed to our continued recovery. We are heart broken, but know we will be stronger and more united than ever before because of this amazing community. We are AztecStrong and San Juan County Strong and this will continue to help us heal. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and support. We have not just seen them, we have felt them. We will not let this event define us, nor will it defeat us. We will move forward and we choose faith over fear because we are not just AztecStrong we are Aztec.


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