Memorial to Fallen Educators. Photo courtesy visitemporia.com

By: Joey Weisler

Well after the tragedy, Parkland has not forgotten its community heroes who have sacrificed their lives while on the job last Valentine’s Day.

Broward Teacher’s Union President Anna Fusco has not either, and represented the county at the Memorial to Fallen Educators to tell others about Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis and Chris Hixon who sacrificed their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while trying to save others.

“I wanted these heroes to be magnified because they’re not really spoken about right now. We hear so much about the students, and I wanted to make sure the teachers and coaches still received honor,” said Fusco.

Located at Emporia State University in Kansas, the Memorial to Fallen Educators was created after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, where members of the National Teachers Hall of Fame board decided that educators who lost their lives “in the line of duty”, protecting, teaching, serving, or transporting students, deserved to be memorialized. 

The  experience was awe-striking she said. Dating as far back as 1763, names, dates, and legacies of fallen heroes are inscribed in a black granite memorial list that include 100 names of lives taken while on the job.

“I was caught off-guard as to how many educators across our country have died and how they died…the history and the value of the memorial and the families that attended held such an incredible great meaning,” she said.

Since the Sandy Hook massacre, Emporia State University has continued building the monument over the past several years in order to create a memorial area that will be a permanent tribute to educators who literally gave their all for their profession. 

In speaking of each educator, Fusco noted the individual background of each one, including how long each worked with Broward County Public Schools and how their heroism played a role in the Valentine’s Day tragedy.  Feis was an MSD alumni and was, and is, an Eagle.  Hixon was a great veteran, somebody who fought for our country shaping many lives as a coach and teacher.  Beigel was someone you would strive to be like.  But what all three of them have in common is that they were family members, they were selfless, and they were heroes.

Fusco also attended the event because she wanted to bring attention to the Fallen Educator’s Memorial.

“There are people who dedicate their lives to our children, they touch our lives, they go through certain situations, and they are truly willing to die for us.  When you put your life in front of children, you should never be forgotten for that.”

Joey Weisler is a native to the city of Parkland and a homebred student of each of the Parkland schools (MSD class of 2013).  He has earned his BA in Communication Studies from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in 2017 and his MA in English: Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in 2018.  He hopes to make huge strides as an up-and-coming secondary English/Language Arts instructor.

Joey is also a nationally distributed screenwriter.  Catch his Pilot, “The Abnormals”, on the South Florida PBS-WPBT Spring 2018 series “Filmmaker”.  “The Abnormals” is a drama filmed in Parkland with South Florida talent (2015).