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For Ms. Turner

Since August, Creekview's Alex Gainey worked with teacher Sue Ellen Turner on his senior project. Wednesday, he found the strength to present it without her.

This is from Victoria Gainey, the mom of Alex Gainey, a senior at . It was written Wednesday.

This morning, Alex called me at school at 8:15. He had just been told at the high school that his senior project facilitator, piano lesson teacher and project 'cheerleader' Ms. Sue Ellen Turner had passed away in the night. He was shocked and so sad because he was to present and play today at 4:15 this afternoon before the judges. She worked at the high school and the whole school was in shock and mourning.

Alex has Asperger Syndrome, ADD and auditory processing disability.  Last August, he chose to do his senior project on taking piano lessons.  He had seen research that supported that learning to play an musical instrument improved brain function and academics. He asked Ms. Turner if she would be his facilitator and teach him to play one song that he would then perform at his presentation. The song they both chose in August was "When the Saints Go Marching In."

And so every week until a month ago, Alex would go every Thursday for his lesson at her home. She became a wonderful encouragement to Alex in so many ways and she loved his ability to make her laugh, but also they enjoyed the deep talks about God, school, life.

And so today at school, Alex worked on and finished one more slide to add to his Powerpoint presentation for his project.

As he began this afternoon, the 2nd slide stated who his project facilitator was and tears welled up. The judges showed great compassion and asked if he wanted them to stop the clock. He said no...I'm going to honor Ms. Turner today. 

He shared his research, his method of learning,etc. and then clicked to the last slide and there he thanked Ms Turner and honored her with words of love and gratefulness to her. Then he sat down at the keyboard and proudly played, "When The Saints Go Marching In."

Ms. Sue Ellen Turner: You will never be forgotten, but remembered for your faith in our Lord and the love you shared. You, sweet Saint of God have marched in—right into the beautiful presence and worship of our Savior and your Alex played with all his heart today thinking of you!

Amy Turcotte is the former female sports director for the Cherokee Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Melissa Cain April 19, 2012 at 04:42 PM
WOW! Such a great and inspiring story. Way to go Alex!
Rhonda April 19, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Great Womsn - Great Song - and Praise Jesus for our Great God!!!! And that we will all meet again in Paradise forever :).....
Amy Youngblood April 20, 2012 at 01:09 AM
What a wonderful tribute to Mrs. Turner who was a wonderful woman. The chosen song was "when the Saints go Marching in" and one of HIS saints did go marching in. Alex you did an amazing job holding it together to pay such a wonderful tribute to your mentor!
Karen McClellan April 20, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Very beautifully written, Victoria... Alex, I'm proud of you!
Asbach April 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Know that Sue Ellen is already at work and many students and children are now in her care... Thank you Alex
roxana April 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Thank you for sharing such an uplifting and beautiful story.
Victoria Gainey April 20, 2012 at 01:22 PM
It is an honor. It is a joy to write these words to honor Sue Ellen. Thank you for your kind words.
Sandra April 20, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Our whole family cried with sadness and praise for Alex and for Ms. Turner. Sadness that the world has lost a great saint but joy that she is with God.
April Turner April 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I am Sue Ellen's daughter-in-law, April Turner (wife of her son, Casey), and I have to tell you how moved we were by this story. It filled us with tears of joy and pride in our Suzie, who we love and miss so much. What a beautiful testament to the kind of woman she was and to the relationship she had with the students she loved so much. Her students and colleagues were part of her family, and she loved them so much. So proud of Alex for a job well-done--I know Sue Ellen is smiling!
Victoria Gainey April 24, 2012 at 06:31 PM
April, Thank you for your words of encouragement. I just saw it today. After Alex finished his presentation that day, I went home just so sad but also so thankful that the Lord had put Sue Ellen in Alex's life. I sat at the computer that night and had to write it to honor her!!! Alex and my husband were able to attend the service and I have heard all the details and stories from them. What an honor to get to know Sue Ellen! I lost my mom, our 'Nanny' two years ago. Alex said Ms. Turner reminded him so much of his Nanny. I am just so thankful for her ability to see my son through eyes of love and encouragement to get him through this senior year....he being only one of countless kids! Her weekly talks with Alex were so appreciated by him as well as me and Bob. I had the opportunity two times to go with him to his lessons. For an hour both times I sat in the living room and read, but I got a great sense of her family, her zest for life and love for all in her path! What an inspiration to all of us to follow our God in the same zeal for Him and the people He puts in our paths! I know, well, the days of loss and grief and I will be praying for all of you. What a joy and great inheritance that she was loved so much because she loved well ! Blessings to all of you, Victoria Gainey
Sarah Cool April 25, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Beautiful story.

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