Getty / Anadolu Agency / Contributor

Teachers facing a grieving community come together in a show of strength through a timeless ballad.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
August 16, 2017

Bill Withers' 1972 hit "Lean on Me" holds a special place in many of our hearts. Maybe you remember it from childhood youth groups, or perhaps from summertime camping trips gathered around the fire pit. Now, the timeless classic is helping one community grieve and look forward, together.

This Tuesday, August 15th, more than 700 public school teachers in Charlottesville gathered at a back-to-school convocation at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center at Charlottesville High School. Though tragedy has struck Charlottesville's tightly-knit town, these teachers know that their students will look to them for guidance at this painful time. They wanted to show not only their kids but the rest of the country that Charlottesville is a great town and a positive place.

 The educators began by humming the familiar opening riff before singing the uplifting first verse: "Sometimes in our lives we all have pain / We all have sorrow  / But if we are wise  / We know that there's always tomorrow." Waving green glow sticks, they continued to chant the inspiring tune as one illuminated sea of diverse—yet united—community members.

This is how the Charlottesville City Schools stands together in the face of the hatred and bigotry brought to OUR community this past weekend. We stand united in LOVE. The three hearts are for the three that lost their lives this past weekend. OUR community is one of diversity, love, and respect!! Welcome back students to the 2017-2018 school year. We are here for you!! Please share so the world sees us for who we really are!!

Posted by Rachel Zahumensky Wilson on Tuesday, August 15, 2017

 

The video was captured by Rachel Wilson, a photography teacher at the school. “It was emotional,” Wilson said to ABC News.

WATCH: Paralyzed Virginia Veteran Walks for the First Time in 33 Years 

“We’re all still kind of processing what happened here and figuring out how to help our students process it and also continue on with what we need to do as educators," Wilson continued. If you'd like to lend a helping hand to Charlottesville, learn more here.