SHINING THE LIGHT: HONORING THE LEGACY OF MIRIAM WHITE
WC Class of 2022 dedicates Founders Plaza bench to classmate
If you have a chance to visit the beautiful Founders Plaza outside of the J. Thomas Anglea Upper School campus, you will see the names of many people important to WC’s history etched on large paver stones and bricks. Framing these pavers are six black benches situated around the periphery of the space. If you take a closer look, you will notice that one of those black benches has an inscription; it’s dedicated to someone who left an indelible impression at Worthington Christian School and on everyone who knew her.
Miriam White began her education at WC in Kindergarten in 2009. As she grew older, she became involved in many different aspects of WC, from soccer and track to strings and theatre. Miriam not only grew in her relationship with Jesus at WC from her teachers, staff and friends, but she in turn was a part of helping others grow closer to Him. School counselor Nancy Secrest describes Miriam as “spiritually wise beyond her years.” On December 22, 2018, in the middle of her freshman year at WC, Miriam passed away.
The inscription that you’ll see on the bench dedicated to Miriam by the Class of 2022 is simple. It reads “Forever in our hearts, we miss you dearly. Love, your Class of 2022.” It also features Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine…” But putting words to Miriam’s life and impact is anything but simple. When asked earlier this year what words they would use to describe Miriam, her classmates—many of whom had known Miriam from preschool–had dozens of responses. They remember her as encouraging, loyal, compassionate, courageous, merry, loving, warm-hearted, gentle, kind, caring, empathetic and enthusiastic. But one word in particular shone through all of their responses: light.
Miriam was a light to those around her. In sharing the impact that Miriam had on her, one student described Miriam as “a living light,” inspirational in her walk with God. Classmate and childhood friend Jonah Varian describes Miriam as “bright.” He recalls a specific time she demonstrated her brightness, “We were part of a group project together in 8th grade that was very stressful for everyone. Yet, each time we met as a group, Miriam was joyful. She brought the group together, and she is still doing that today.”
The light of Jesus in Miriam empowered her to see and love others. Close friend and classmate Grace Hall explains, “Miriam saw in people what others didn’t see, and she loved everyone.” Jaeda Tagoe experienced this first-hand. As a new student at WC in second grade, Jaeda knew no one in her class. Miriam quickly took on the role of friend to Jaeda, showing her the ropes in an unfamiliar setting.
There are many, many stories that share the common thread of Miriam’s light. As close family friend and current WC parent Jill Graham explains, “Miriam was a light for Jesus. It showed through her speech, her actions, and the joy coming through her smile and laughter.”
Graham was instrumental in establishing the Miriam White Memorial Bench now located at Founders Plaza, dedicated in a small ceremony on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. At the ceremony, Miriam’s classmates and close friends expressed gratitude for this special way of honoring her memory. Grace Hall shared her thoughts on the memorial bench, “Even though we’ve moved campuses now, we haven’t forgotten Miriam.” Another friend said, “I’m thankful to have a place I can go every day and just remember Miriam.” Another friend share similar sentiment, “When I’m feeling weighed down by her loss, it’s comforting to know that so many remember Miriam.”
May we all find the ultimate comfort in knowing that one day, through our shared love of Christ, that we will be with Miriam again. Until then, may we remember her life and impact, and seek to walk with Jesus as she did.