BV educators remembered at tree ceremony
"What a better day and a better time to honor two wonderful, beautiful ladies," Berryville Elementary School Principal Kelly Swofford said Thursday afternoon.
Flanked by two potted redbud trees and two freshly dug holes, Swofford explained that the trees would be planted in honor of Beth Duncan and Darla Edwards.
Duncan, a kindergarten teacher, died July 29, 2014, at 32 years old. According to her obituary, she loved being with kids and family, loved showing animals in the fair was a member of the Berryville Church of Christ. She was a 4-H leader, a member of FFA and an alumni of the Collegiate Farm Bureau at North Arkansas College.
Duncan's mother, Deborah Duncan, tearfully spoke of her daughter at the ceremony.
"I may not make it through this, but I want you all to remember that Beth loved everyone that she touched," Duncan said. "Children were more important to her than anything she could ever do in her life."
Duncan recalled her daughter's teaching style, noting her positive attitude.
"If the day started bad, you know she would give you a big, special hug and say, 'OK, let's start the day again and know that I love you,' " Duncan said.
"Always remember this," she continued. "Ms. Beth loved all of you."
Like Duncan, Edwards' daughter Courtney Keith said, Edwards loved working with children. A graduate of Green Forest High School, Edwards died April 20. Her obituary states that she began working as a paraprofessional at Berryville Elementary School as soon as her own children were in school.
Keith thanked the administration, staff and students of Berryville elementary for their support in the weeks after her mother's death.
"Thank you for loving her and loving us," Keith said.
She remembered her mother's love of children.
"She got so much joy out of helping kids do better and read and grow, and she talked about it a lot. She thought so much of Berryville school."
Swofford said the tree ceremony was a perfect way to honor Duncan and Edwards.
"Trees are a wonderful symbol of life and growth and caring for one another. If we continue to care for these trees, they will grow big and every time we see those trees we'll remember Ms. Beth and Mrs. Darla," he said.
After the Arkansas Forestry Department oversaw the planting, Berryville elementary staff and family members of Duncan and Edwards released purple and red balloons in memory of the women.
Swofford concluded the ceremony by saying, "This is a sad time but a happy day. We plant these trees as a symbol of our love and affection in their memory."