Commemoration of a True Bear



Maxwell Kasten, Writer

Counting down the days to the graduation of our 2017 seniors, many fellow students, family, and staff are holding a very special person in their hearts. Kyle Addington, 16, passed away after a seven month battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in July of 2015.


Kyle’s memory still vividly lives on, through his friends, family, and the people here at Oakdale. He was a wonderful friend and student to everyone he knew. And he will never be forgotten. Therefore, there is a Serenity Garden at the front of the school’s entrance to provide a place of peace to remember Kyle and who he was to all.


According to Mrs. Christy Polce, a guidance counselor at Oakdale who was close with Kyle and his family, “The goal of the garden was to have a place for students, staff, and parents to be able to reflect on the mark Kyle left on Oakdale.”


The garden has two benches, one donated by the Addington family and the other by The National Honors Society. “The garden right now,is just a new idea from the Addington family because this is the first person we have lost as an attending student at Oakdale. We had to figure out how to recognize this loss.” Mrs. Polce explains. The layout, development, and construction of the Serenity Garden was donated by Barrick Garden Center/Barrick & Sons, LLC.


Kyle’s mother, Wendy Addington, talks about the importance of the garden. “We were looking for some way to honor Kyle’s memory at the school and it morphed into this serenity garden that could serve a dual purpose… providing a relaxing and peaceful space for students to hang out and also remember Kyle by dedicating one of the benches in his memory.” She is persistent in having a place to be with Kyle where he will live on forever.


In addition to the garden, at graduation, the students will be sporting orange ribbons to symbolize that Kyle is always with them and will never be left behind. The orange is his trademark, similar to Kyle’s Crusaders, an organization  that is an honor to his last wish to find the cure for cancer. Wearing the ribbons is a way to show that everyone is unified and working together at graduation.


“I think that many people are thinking about him right now and have him in their hearts nearing graduation.” Mrs. Polce says dearly.


Mrs. Addington states, “Kyle lives on in our memories and we don’t ever want him to be forgotten. Our hope is that this space at OHS keeps Kyle’s memory alive and becomes a place where friends gather and new memories are made. We hope he will be remembered for his caring spirit, his positive outlook on life and his pride in being an Oakdale Bear.”


So if you or someone you know are attending graduation in a few days from now, make sure to keep your head up and your heart open for Kyle, and for all of us.