Tuesday, 21 February 2012

KMHS Remembers Him

So many lovely (and funny!) things were said about Aaron at his memorial service at school last week. This is the eulogy which was written and spoken by Aaron's past Principal (who isn't at the school this year) and the Assistant Principal who he was great friends with:

"I never thought I would be back here so soon for such a sad task but really, today is not meant to be sad. This is a celebration of Aaron’s professional life at Kings Meadows and of how he has touched us all and how he has helped to shape our school to the amazing learning community it is today. 
Let’s start with the obvious things. Aaron was a beautiful person and we are all so lucky as a school community to have known him.   He had a great sense of humour and made us all laugh every single day.  Mornings in the office will be very different.  Each day he would do something annoying to Mrs Ponting, just to get a laugh form her.   He was cheeky and great fun to be around. He  loved Lisa and his boys, our school,   Hawthorn,  maccas, chips,  pepsi, oreos, clothes and the students in his grade ( not necessarily in this order).  

This last year Aaron went on our school’s footy trip, which he organised each year. Mr Dean and I (Mrs Barker) went too.   The students were wonderful, really well behaved. There was only one person who played up and that was, you guessed it, Aaron.  We would look around to check the students and there would be one person misbehaving; sneaking off to buy maccas, saying something silly, yelling out  abuse at the footy and then hiding behind the students so no-one would know it was him.  Our supervising teacher, Mr King!

Aaron loved being around his students. He loved mucking about with them.  He spent hours every lunch time in the yard or the gym, playing downball and basketball with everyone. At the end of lunch time he would come in as hot and sweaty as any of the students to take his classes.
Aaron was the only teacher any of us know who has his computer set up to stream sport – footy, cricket, baseball, whatever, just so he could check the scores wherever he was.  And who can ever forget him carrying that Hawthorn Grand Final Trophy around last year after our Beacon assembly.  It was a huge highlight for him. 

Aaron was a funny person, always joking around, but we all know there was much more to him than that.  He was a truly good person and a wonderful teacher.  Aaron had a strong sense of personal morality that impacted on us all.  He never preached or lectured, but students and staff knew that Aaron had a very strong sense of moral purpose.  He lived his values and we learnt those values just by being around him. 

If someone in his grade had done the wrong thing, they knew that they had let Mr King down, and that upset them as much as getting into trouble or having a consequence.  He had the amazing ability of building deep connections and relationships with us all, no matter who we were, whether we got into trouble often or never.   He was still able to maintain a positive relationship and have a smile and a laugh the next day.  He believed in students and was always there for them. 

Students loved to be in Mr King’s class. ‘Yes, I’ve got Kingy,’ we would hear  when students saw their timetable at the start of the year.  They knew that they would be learning in a fun filled atmosphere where they were encouraged and supported to do their best and where there was a gentle, caring atmosphere.  Aaron never got angry or frustrated with his classes, he just kept on persevering with the teaching and learning.

Aaron loved his students, he was passionate about his teaching and had clearly found his vocation when he became a teacher.  He placed his desk in his staff study especially so he could see the students in his grade and keep an eye on them.  He taught Maths and Science, but his passion was coaching the footy  team and in fact I have a suspicion that was why he was keen to be involved in the timetable – so he could make sure he got a footy class.  

Again his approach was fair and supportive. I will never forget the speech he made to the Junior boys footy team just before their grand final last year. It was amazing. Passionate, stirring, very eloquent. I had never heard him talk like that before.  No wonder the team won that day – how could they not! However, it was not just about winning with him, it was about the values of being part of a team, caring for each other, of being sportsmanlike and of representing Kings Meadows  with pride and honour. 

Aaron was caring and thoughtful as a colleague, as well as great fun.  He lead a grade team that has  become very close. He was sensitive and supportive of the needs of others and often did little extra kindnesses for them, especially for his team. All our parents knew that Aaron was there for their child. It has been great to see him grow and develop as a professional over recent years, to the extent he was taking on leadership roles such as his grade and the timetable.  

Aaron represented everything that was best about Kings Meadows and has been a key part of our journey forward.  Our school would not be the wonderful place it is today without his efforts.   He had a sense of community and acceptance of all, of moral purpose and was a good and caring person, just as we want everyone in this school to be. While he never took himself seriously, and in fact was not that confident, he was the best of teachers and the best of people. All of us in this school have been so lucky to have known him and been taught by him.   We have learned so much from him and we will never forget it or him".


  1. I could definitely relate to this as an ex student of KMHS. I still remember receiving my timetable six years ago and seeing I had Mr King for a subject- I knew I was in for a great year :)

    I know that when people die everyone says a lot of nice things about that person, but I cannot find a bad thing to say about him. He was just so respected, admired and loved within the school community.

  2. I wish that my kids had had a teacher like this .... Aaron was obviously a man that lived his life to the fullest and was an example to all of us as to the way we should live life .... even though of us who have never met him, but have come to know him through your blog Lisa. This is a wonderful tribute to Aaron.

  3. Even though his time on earth was too short, he certainly touched many lives for good.


  4. What a wonderful and loved man!

  5. What a wonderful tribute to your husband. I think of your family often and pray that you are doing well. I know that I am just a stranger to you but your strength inspires me. I cannot imagine what you and your family must be going through, however I have come across some widow blogs after a member in my ward passed away. If you would like the names of them I would be happy to give them to you. They talk about their grief and what has helped their families.

  6. Thankyou for posting this speech. It's hard to remember everything she said so its great to be able to reread it again. I felt sorry for the gr 7s who never got to be taught by him.

  7. What a moving tribute to a very obviously loved and admired teacher and man.

  8. So beautiful. You were blessed to have Aaron as your husband. I am sorry his time with you all was too short.

  9. Though we've never met, I just wanted to tell you how inspiring it is to read about Aaron. These stories make me want to be a better teacher, spouse, and parent.

    I think of you often and pray for you. Much love to you and your family.


We are so grateful for everyone's love and support, and appreciate your comments xoxo

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