Debbie will be missed and remembered

Debbie Shanniak passed away Monday, March 31, from ovarian cancer. She was a part of Colton High School’s maintenance staff, but more than that she was an important part of the school day for many students. On any day, there might be three or four high-school students joining her for lunch and a timid young man confiding in her for just a second or a star football player, stopping to share a successful game moment.

Debbie had a way to help, to be a confidant, but not enable the students. There was that one young man who was forever misplacing items; Debbie—who knew whose gym shoes, notebook, phone were sitting in the middle of the hallway or left on the bleachers—would gather them up, not wanting anything to be permanently lost, and take them to the school office. It was then up to the student to take the proper steps, including actually going to the office, to retrieve the personal inventory. Debbie was a listener, an encourager. She wanted to see students become a part of and enjoy their school years at Colton.

I am going to share one of many more stories:

I had stopped by CHS to do a column about an upcoming school project. Principal Tom Crane gave the pertinent information. He had just said, “Let me get a student in here to tell you more,” when a girl from the junior class walked into the office. Mr. Crane introduced us. I could see the panic in the student’s eyes, the “how do I get out of this” look. But she did it and she did a great job explaining the project data and scenario. During the conversation she indicated that she was someone who did not mingle, that she felt a little intimidated by the crush of students. As we were finishing up our conversation, the lunch bell rang. I asked her if she needed to leave for lunch.

“I usually eat with Debbie, and it will be okay if I get there late,” she said.

Debbie was her constant, her anchor in the school. .

The next school year, while taking pictures of the drama club production, there on stage, with a speaking part, was that same girl, and in the audience were Mr. and Mrs. Shanniak, not just for the one student, but to support them all.

Debbie will be missed and she will be remembered. I hope all of us can find the time on a daily basis to see and encourage the beauty and worth in everyone. May we all be a part of Debbie’s legacy.

A memorial service will be held to honor Debbie Shanniak on Saturday, April 12, at 11 a.m. The service, followed by a reception, will be held in the Colton High School.

Upcoming events

On Wednesday, April 16, Colton School District Superintendent Linda Johnson will host a community meeting. The agenda will be the 2014-15 school budget. The meeting will be held in the commons of the Colton Middle School, beginning at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, April 17, the annual member meeting of Coltontel will be held at Colton Middle School. A Coltontel Member Hour will be held from 6-7 p.m., followed by the annual meeting.

On Saturday, April 19, the annual Easter egg hunt will be held in the fields behind Colton Elementary School. The fun event begins at 10 a.m. and is for children up to the fifth grade.

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