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A rally, a man, to remember

The “Happiness is Now” motivated students and Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press
The "Happiness is Now" motivated students and Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press
The “Happiness is Now” rally symbolized just how energetic Chris Prewitt was in his life. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press

In light of the recent darkness which has enveloped Foothill and the entire community, it’s hard to think twice about something so relatively pointless as spirit week or a renaissance rally.

It’s hard to think that a man who was so truly and utterly joyful could be gone from our lives, and from his family’s lives, at the movement of a disoriented and careless wrist.

It’s hard to think that the beloved man who touched so many lives can promptly disappear from them all.

It’s hard to think that such a horrible thing could happen to such a wonderful person.

It’s been a hard week, to say the least.

So why, then, should we care about showing school spirit through tie dye or pajamas; better yet why should we continue with the theme of the renaissance rally, about finding happiness in the present?  Isn’t it simplistic, if not insulting, to propose we should all forget our sorrows and just be happy?

Although I may in other situations have thought so, I believe that the rally, spirit week, and the “Happiness is Now” presentation perfectly sums up how Mr. Prewitt lived his life, and how he inspired countless others to do the same.

Mr. Prewitt was many things to many people.  I cannot say that I was very close with Mr. Prewitt; I was just a quiet ninth grader who occupied a seat in his Health class.  In all honesty, I never fully appreciated him while he was here.

It is tragic that it often takes loss and tragedy for us, for me, to appreciate what was there all along.

Yet the thing about Mr. Prewitt was that even though I wasn’t personally close with him, which I think may be the case for many of my classmates, we all knew and liked him because we could see how much he loved all of us.

I remember writing a poem about fear for my English class while in the pod, and Mr. Prewitt walked by and read my poem.  He immediately smiled, looked me in the face with his big eyes, and enthusiastically proclaimed, “Awesome!”

Interestingly enough, at the time I remember feeling slightly annoyed.  I wrote a poem about the fear which encompasses society, about something dark and depressing, and here came this teacher who read it and had a super positive response.

However, in hindsight I realize how beautiful of a response that really was, and how that’s just who Prewitt was.  Without idealizing him, I can say that he was not one for delving into the darkness when he didn’t have to, he simply exuded a genuine and inescapable joy, a sentiment that anyone who knew him shares.

Mr. Prewitt fully encompassed the phrase “find joy in the journey,” in his life and his death.  It is for all of these reasons that the renaissance rally worked out so well.

Our rally this year was met with an obvious level of reluctance and bitterness upon its announcement.  The thought of a motivational dance crew coming to tell us adolescents to simply be happy seemed like it would be a phony pep talk where, to make matters worse, we had to perform silly dance moves.

Fortunately for everyone, it turned out to be much more than that.

The speaker of the presentation, Danny Batimana, ended up being both a great dancer and storyteller, who shared funny stories while opening himself up enough to maintain authenticity.

While the inspiration to be ourselves and live life to the fullest in the present may have soon left most of us after only an hour, it provided most of us with some happiness and humor while it lasted, if not at least entertainment from watching each of our teachers dance fantastically.

That is why the rally fully embodied the spirit of Mr. Prewitt.  As Captain said, if Mr. Prewitt still taught at Foothill he would have put his full support behind it, and been the first teacher to embarrass himself and dance beautifully lamely, just as he did in the epic YMCA dance video from Air Guitar 2012.

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He would have put his heart into it like he did with all things.

Of all things Mr. Prewitt did, I know he thoroughly enjoyed as many moments of his short time here as I could ever hope to in my entire lifetime, and that gives me some peace as I see him go.

For Mr. Prewitt’s sake, let us not forget that happiness is now, that life is now.

For Mr. Prewitt’s sake, I feel it is my duty to appreciate the moment I have, because as we can see, life is all too fragile.


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    Linda KapalaApr 15, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    In the dark, we must find the light and the Spirit Week and Rally gave us that light. Thanks for your understanding of that.

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A rally, a man, to remember