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By Tammy Reed, TSBVI Dorm Manager, and the staff and students of Dorm 656

Abstract: This article shares some of the activities taken by TSBVI students to honor the passing of a fellow student. Dorm Manager Tammy Reed helped her students find ways to honor their friend and deal with their grief.

Keywords: grief, friendship, honor, compassion, memorial

On September 19, 2018, TSBVI students and staff gathered outside Dorm 656 to plant a crepe myrtle tree in honor of fellow student Case Beken, who had passed away a couple weeks prior. They were joined by Case’s mother and a dear family friend from his hometown, as well as former teachers and administrators on campus. Dorm Manager Tammy Reed helped students organize the memorial service and  find ways to deal with their grief while honoring their friend. All students were given an opportunity to walk to the microphone and speak about their memories of Case during the memorial service. Some wrote about the cherished qualities he possessed and the positive influence he had had on their lives. Devin Gutierrez sang “Amazing Grace.” After everyone spoke, each student took a turn placing a shovel-full of dirt at the base of the tree. A plaque was later placed next to the tree stating, “This Tree Was Planted In Memory Of Case Beken.”

Technology was one of the many things that Case loved. A fund has been established at TSBVI in his name to help purchase assistive technology for other students. Contributions may be sent to Gloria Bennett or Miles Fain at TSBVI with a notation that the money is for the Case Beken Technology Fund. Ms. Reed and her students said, “Case was a positive peer role model that was taken from us too soon. He may be gone but our love will continue to grow just as Case’s tree does the same.”




A stone plaque sits in front of a small tree with flowers outside of a TSBVI dorm.
Caption: A crepe myrtle tree planted by students outside Dorm 656 with a plaque honoring their friend.

The hands of four students touch the stone plaque.

Caption: Close-up of the plaque which reads, “This Tree Was Planted in Memory of Case Beken”. The hands of four students are touching it.

Four students sit around the young crepe myrtle tree, they are all touching the plaque in front of it.
Caption: Students from Dorm 656 show the tree they planted in memory of their fellow student, Case Beken. Clockwise from top left are Jacob Montoya, Michael Fulk, Evan Hernandez, and Darrius Matthews.