From the Heyes Collection
For some reason tonight I can’t stop thinking about what happened in Red Lake yesterday. According to the local news, Neva Rodgers, the 62 year old teacher who was killed was going to retire after this summer. It just shakes me to the core. I started looking, somewhat obsessively, at the photographs on the Red Lake Net News site. They don’t have anything to do with the shootings, but they make me remember high school.
Neva Rodgers was the yearbook advisor. The 1972 Red Lake High School Yearbook reminds me of the sort of photographs I took for my own high school’s yearbook in 1975 and 1976. The pages of clumsy rephotographs of the Reverend Heyes Albums with their scratched and obliterated faces make me think of the cruelty we so willingly inflict on each other. The pictures could be small town anywhere.
Looking at the stats for the school, it seems that only 67% of the students passed the basic writing test in 2002. It is very sad to me that a zombie-obsessed kid could bring such tragedy down on this tribe. The ratio of students to teachers at the school seems reasonable, and yet no one made the difference for this kid. What really ripped me up the worst was listening to former students of Neva Rodgers talk about how she let them stay in her home when they had no where else to go. I think most people go into teaching because they want to make a difference somehow. But no one made that difference for Jeff Weise.