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Potsdam board of education approves Garrett Phillips memorial

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POTSDAM — A memorial area at Potsdam Central School in honor of Garrett J. Phillips, who died a year ago, will provide a quiet place for reflection, according to Superintendent Patrick H. Brady.

Garret was a 12-year-old student at A.A. Kingston Middle School when he was found murdered in his home last fall. The district Board of Education this week approved a request to place a memorial on campus in his memory.

“We had received a request from the Phillips family to place a small memorial on campus in Garrett’s memory. The Board of Education does have a policy for recognition. That process was followed,” Mr. Brady said.

The district’s Buildings and Grounds Committee approved the request before forwarding it to an ad hoc committee that included school board members Ralph L. Fuller, Wade A. Davis, James Hubbard and Christopher C. Cowen. They reviewed the proposal and recommended approval to the board.

According to the proposal submitted to the board at its Aug. 28 meeting, the park will include two benches, a sugar maple, steppingstones, two shrubs and a large rock with a 10- by 13-inch plaque. The proposal also leaves space for additional memorials to be added as needed. The memorial plaque will be located near a concession stand on the school’s athletic field, Mr. Brady said.

“The plan is to have a couple of trees planted with two benches and a sandstone place between the benches with a small plaque. It’s very nice. It will be a place for quiet reflection for Garrett and others who’ve been taken from us before they should have,” he said.

On the anniversary of his death Wednesday, the superintendent said there was still a sense of loss in the district.

“It is on the minds of many people not only because we lost Garrett, but also because of the lack of closure. There’s no question it’s a concern on the minds of people,” Mr. Brady said.

“Here at school we’re providing an opportunity for students to share with each other, but also our message is one of connecting this to Making a Difference Day — hope for the future and use this time to reflect on what you can do for someone else. That’s the important message,” he said.

It was a difficult day not only for the students, but also for faculty members, Mr. Brady said. “It’s a difficult time, especially for those that were particularly close to Garrett. He had many friends here and was well-liked by all of the faculty who knew him. It’s as tough on our faculty as it is on our students,” he said.

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