Stowers' kindergarten student Lillian Marie Reggi (Lilly) made an enormous impact on those in her life through that cute big grin, her infectious laugh, and the sheer joy she spread to everyone and everywhere she went. Lillian’s battle with cancer did not stop her from sharing her talents and making others smile.
On May 18, Lillian's family along with Stowers faculty and staff gathered in a touching ceremony to dedicate a butterfly sculpture garden at the school. With the help and support of a special art teacher, a local artist, staff, students and community members, Lilly's memory will continue to live on and bring joy to others.
Recently Abigail Rothrock, Art Teacher at Stowers ES penned a touching tribute about how the community came together to honor Lilly in such a special way.
Read some of Ms. Rothrock's touching words:
"I teach 1-5th grade art at Stowers and although I didn’t personally have the joy of teaching art to Lilly, I taught her brother Christian. Like many others at our school and community, I experienced her gift of joy. You see, every time I saw her at school, she had the biggest grin, an infectious laugh and the most beautiful blonde curls! I learned of Lillian’s battle with cancer at the beginning of last year during her Kindergarten year and watched her fight to the very end. It’s been almost a year since she’s earned her wings and there isn’t a week that goes by that she isn’t missed.
It was around this time last year that I visited Lillian and Christian at their home. I went with Lilly’s art teacher, Mrs. Bindshedler and we created an origami butterfly mobile with Christian to hang over Lilly’s bed. As I said my goodbyes to Lilly I had a vision of butterflies flying towards heaven. It was then that I knew I wanted to create a butterfly sculpture garden in her memory. I asked her if that was something she would like and she blinked twice to say yes. And it’s from that moment that she seemed to orchestrate every detail.
Dominique Martinez with Rustic Steel Creations listened to Lilly’s story and decided to make this dream a reality. With a generous, kind heart, Dominique offered to match funds I could come up with and create two phenomenal sculptures.
Lillian brought joy to everyone around her and because of these sculptures her joy will spread to thousands."
Ms. Rothrock's afterschool art club was able to create stepping stones for the butterfly garden in the school's outdoor classroom. Several families, staff and community members stepped up to help purchase plants, mulch and supplies. Her students even helped to plant the beautiful flowers and greenery.
A very special dedication ceremony took place to honor her memory and to formally thank all who helped make this happen. During the ceremony Lillian's brother Christian read a poem that he wrote and then attendees released live butterflies, while listening to Mariah Carey’s, “Butterfly” song.
Lillian’s father shared his love of his daughter and her battle with cancer. He shared that while in the hospital receiving her treatments, kids were always drawn to Lillian's joyful personality. During their monthly karaoke nights, everyone waited until Lillian went first to perform. She was the one who “broke the ice” and became the life of the party. After he shared his story he gave the group one final gift. It was a recording of Lillian's beautiful voice one last time as she belted out the song “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie.
Thank you to the Reggi family for sharing your most precious gift with us all, Lillian Marie Reggi.View Full Album