Beloved Teacher Honored with Memorial Butterfly Garden
May 25, 2018 – Camden Henson, Murphy Middle School student and Boy Scout Troop 291 member, welcomed attendees to the Murphy Middle School Memorial Butterfly Garden. The garden was dedicated to Lori Crawford, a beloved teacher at Murphy Middle School (MMS) who passed away at the beginning of this school year after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Ms. Crawford was one of the original staff members when MMS opened in 2003.
Principal Conrad said that it is a privilege to dedicate this garden to Ms. Crawford, “She was incredibly positive and had a lot of spirit.”
Paige Burton, 6th grade social studies teacher, said, “I miss her like I would miss a limb. For 15 years I had lunch with her in her classroom. She was the one I confided in, my voice of reason. I was here at MMS when I learned of her passing. I found myself heading to her room to tell her.”
Michelle Byrd, 6th grade English teacher, worked with Ms. Crawford since 2000. She said, “Lori set an example. She was always available to make you laugh and had emergency chocolate. The halls of MMS will never be the same without you.”
Mark Woodyard, 6th grade math teacher, said that he couldn’t thank anyone more than Lori for making his first year as a teacher not, as predicted, his worst year. He said, “Every time I walked down the hall, she greeted me with a smile. I still miss her to this day. I can’t think of anything better than a bright, beautiful butterfly garden to commemorate Lori.”
Brian Henson, Orchestra Director, did not speak at the dedication, but did share separately, “She was literally the backbone of Murphy MS. The kids loved her! She was a math teacher, cheerleading coach and Sunshine fund leader. She headed staff events all of the time, the "Super Bowl of Dips" on the day before the big game. She led a chili cook-off every year. She organized staff breakfast every quarter.”
Many of Ms. Crawford’s relatives were in attendance. Lori’s parents, Dave and Ricki Crawford were presented with a memorial stone to place in the garden. Dave said, “The school was essentially her family. Truly the worst day she had during her sickness was when she was told she couldn’t go back to teaching.”
Guests were asked to put on pink gardening gloves, a color chosen specifically with Ms. Crawford in mind, and plant a plant into the garden.
This was Camden’s Eagle Scout project. He said, “Ms. Crawford was my sixth grade math teacher and it is my privilege to commemorate Ms. Crawford with this butterfly garden.” He thanked Principal Matthew Conrad, MMS teacher Tina Pilgrim, members of Troop 291, MMS environmental club and AVID, Jeff and Carson Sharp, Jarett Calvert and Shades of Green nursery and Mike Hendrix for their dedication and hard work to complete this project.
The garden is a registered Waystation for Monarch butterflies and flanks the entry way at the back of the school where the majority of MMS passes daily.