Teachers facing a grieving community come together in a show of strength through a timeless ballad.
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.
The video was captured by Rachel Wilson, a photography teacher at the school. “It was emotional,” Wilson said to ABC News.
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“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.