TA News

Head of School Weekly Email: Sharing Sad News & Grief Resources

Dear TA Families and Students,

It is with deep sadness that I write to you today to share the news that Sue Farrell, our beloved school nurse, passed away this morning with her family by her side. Sue was diagnosed just last month. The progression happened so very fast, and we are all trying to process this devastating turn.

Sue has been a vital part of the Thetford Academy family since she joined the staff back in 2007. As the school’s nurse, Sue was a strong advocate for the mental and physical wellbeing of young people, making sure students always had a safe and welcoming place to go for support. Many families in the community also had connections to Sue through her long-time position as a nurse practitioner at Upper Valley Pediatrics.

Sue inspired all of us with her skills as a nurse and her kindness toward young people. TA’s Student Assistance Provider Kara Toms described Sue as “the ultimate caregiver – thoughtful, patient, and compassionate.” Sue’s colleague and friend of many years, Wendy Cole, highlighted that Sue “was particularly skilled at talking with adolescents and helping them address their issues.”

I am including two resources with this email that might be helpful for students and families. First, our student support team recommended the attached grief guide for all of us – adults and students alike – to have as an expert reference. Second, our counseling office recorded a video message to share the news about Sue’s passing and discuss ways we can take care of ourselves as we process our grief. When we are back at school on Monday, we will take time in our pod meetings to watch the video together. We will also have the support of a counselor from the Clara Martin Center at TA on Monday and Tuesday for students and staff to see on an opt-in basis.

We will miss Sue deeply and grieve with her family as we hold them in our hearts during this time.

With care and love,

Carrie Brennan, Head of School

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