Hellos and GoodbyesBy Anna | January 21, 2020
This weekend, we celebrated the life and work of our beloved founder, Courtney Everts Mykytyn. Members of the Integrated Schools parent board, advisory board, and chapter leaders convened in Los Angeles, Courtney’s hometown, to grieve and mourn together. After a private service for family and friends, Saturday evening was a specific time set aside for the beautiful community she created to gather to celebrate her life’s work and the growing movement of Integrated Schools.
It’s difficult to articulate the emotions that were swirling around us. We hugged each other tight, many of us having never been in the same room together before yet feeling like family because of Courtney’s love. We wept on each others’ shoulders at the prospect of continuing the work without her, yet reaffirmed our commitment to do so. And we cried at the unfairness of her death yet smiled at the thought of how much she would have enjoyed us all being together in the same place at the same time. The relationships Courtney built around the country may have been far flung, but they were deep and meaningful. Her investment into each of us must now take on a different shape as we work together to build an Integrated Schools she’d be proud of.
Unfortunately, not everyone could make the journey to Los Angeles, but the kinship that comes from being physically together solidified the need for a future where more Integrated Schools gatherings happen in person. We aren’t sure what that part of the work will look like, but we are determined to make it a reality. We need each other and the space Integrated Schools creates to continue to exist. We are committed to continuing the work.
It is going to take time to reorganize during the next several months, to redistribute the work she had been shouldering. We wish we had her counsel in these moments, but Courtney was adamant that Integrated Schools was NOT the Courtney Mykytyn show. She recruited a brilliant, all-volunteer, army of integration advocates who each bring their own gifts and experiences to this work. So while we may not feel prepared and things will be different, we are ready to continue her work and honor her legacy.
You, dear reader, are an essential part of the IS family and we hope you will think of ways to honor Courtney’s legacy in your own community and consider engaging with us even more than you have before. If you don’t already, add us on twitter, instagram, and facebook. Consider becoming an Integrator or a Patron of the Integrated Schools Podcast. This is hard work and we need everyone. Stay tuned and watch us grow.
As always, yours in service, The Integrated Schools Team
(some Parent Board, Advisory Board, and Chapter Leaders who were able to be together this weekend, top row L to R, Bridget, Kim, Molly, Stephan, Andrew, bottom row L to R Susan, Ali, Anna, Sarah. Photo by Ben Becker)
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