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Tuesday’s Teacher’s Corner: 10 Ways to Honor a Student That Has Passed Away

flowers marguerites destroyed dead

Tuesday’s Teacher’s Corner: 10 Ways to Honor a Student That Has Passed Away

Grief is hard. When you find a student has passed into eternity, is breaks your heart. Each day you pour into your students, love and care for them like they are your own AND pray for them daily. As you do these things, it really does not make a difference how “close” you seemed. Yes, there are those that your heart knits to automatically, but if we love and pour into our ministry and classroom as God states, we find our hearts soon knit to theirs. God’s work is amazing like that. As a teacher, you will mourn for your student. It is natural. If you did not read my post last week, you can find it HERE. And if you have not read Grieved Within, I highly recommend that as well. Although that is a brief overview of an aching heart from various circumstances, it is a helpful reminder of God’s love as we are uneasy in life.

But, after all is said and done, people often ask or seek ways in which to honor a student that passes. Or a little memorial, perhaps a token of their presence. And as you heal in your grieve, you may pick up on your other students working through their own grief as well. So, without further ado, here are a few thoughts.

Tuesday’s Teacher’s Corner: 10 Ways to Honor a Student That Has Passed Away

person holding white and black frame
Photo by cottonbro studio on

~ A picture laminated or framed on their desk-

Not everyone grieves at the same rate. Some will take comfort in seeing a face, other’s may want it removed right away. If it has been a recent passing, placing a picture in your classroom of your “missing student” is a great way to honor the student and family. But, also a reminder to pray for the family. If you decide to do something in honor of the student, that is a great time to pass the photo on or in another location.

green leaf tree beside body of water

~ Plant a Tree or Bush in the play yard-

A wonderful way to remember someone that has left this world is to plant a “token” of reminder in honor of them. A tree is a great way to have something last for years with a gentle reminder to all. Doing this as a class is also a great way to allow free expression of the other students’ emotions in a safe, loving way. If the school area does not work, perhaps a local park the kids would often play at.

close up shot of a snow globe

~ A Classroom Token-

Perhaps one of the sweetest things received after the passing of a sweet soul, was a snow-globe with a photo inside. As small and as “insignificant” as it may seem, this snow-globe has brought comfort to many and a lot of conversations about heaven. It sits out year round and is a sweet touch to our woodsy decor. As time passes on, and it will, your student will not be forgotten, but memories will fade a bit. (Like snow melts.) A sweet picture of your student in the snow-globe can be a reminder to you and all your student how precious every life is and their soul leaves a forever imprint in our hearts. However, your classroom token can be as simple as you desire. Personal to the student, the snow-globe was special because this sweet soul LOVED snow. Perhaps a student likes a particular sport or game, and/or you can recall a sweet memory as a class to pick a “token”. Either way, this is a great way to honor a student and help your classroom press-on midst grief. (Including yourself.)

a girl holding a brown paper

~ A Letter-

One thing I found as kids grieve is they have child emotions swept up and compressed into adult reactions with their best logic possible. A letter is a great relief outlet. Truthfully, we all know we can talk to our Heavenly Father, but why don’t we? And while there are a lot of various reasons, one of them at times is, it hurts. Or we “cannot” put what we feel into words. Letters are a great way to organize that grief or last things we wish we could say. As a child, this is a huge burden lifter. Often leading to beautiful discussions someone else in the class may have had trouble putting into words.

UPDATE: Letters can be a thank you for being in our class, an “I miss you”, to “I wish I could tell you”- you can choose one or just leave it completely open if you are prepared for some of the responses. (This will also be influenced on how soon you have them write letters. Time may have worked some things out or answered questions.)

photos on wall

~ Story or Photo Wall

Depending on your classroom vs. school scenario, if you have a very small school that way tightly bonded; this may be a better option. Create as a class, a photo wall. Maybe each student write a small highlight of their favorite memory of the student. If there are a lot of photos, that is something that could be added as well. This could be a fun afternoon project to do in honor of your “missing student”.

crop unrecognizable patriot celebrating memorial day showing american flag

~ Dedicate an Event to Their Memory-

Have a concert coming up or a school event? Another great way to honor your student is to dedicate the event or a certain activity to the student. This can be an annual thing or a one time event.

a cardboard with inscription
Photo by Julia M Cameron on

~ A Tribute or Donation in the Student’s Honor-

Another great way to honor your student is to donate to a non-profit or make a donation to a noble cause. This tribute could be annual or a sweet memorial in honor of your student’s life. This donation could be personal, as a class, as a school or as a community. A wonderful way to honor your student that has passed.

meat grilled on charcoal grill
Photo by Francesco Paggiaro on

~ Start an Annual Tradition-

A favorite way to honor someone that has passed is to honor their life annually. Birthdate or a special day to the student is a great time to start a tradition. Some choose a 5K, other’s have a spaghetti dinner and donate to their favorite local charity, while some are more private and have a close family & friends dinner. It is not about how “big” it is or what you do, but sharing beautiful memories. So as a class, how can this be applied? Easy, depending on the age of your students; more than likely as they continue to grow and enter each new grade- your “missing student” will not be forgotten. Even up to graduation day. Some had a special video at graduation (a few years later) to remember their fallen student. The tradition can be simple, but it needs to be personal. It could be a beginning of the year prayer, your classroom token appearing at special events or programs, or painted little rocks in the pockets of those closest. Again, this totally relies on your setup/teaching atmosphere. It could be a back to school picnic each year in their honor. The sky is the limit.

graduation photos
Photo by Emily Petit on

~ A Scholarship Fund-

On a larger scale, there are other ways to honor your student that has passed as an individual, classroom, school and/or community. One of those is to start a scholarship fund. Monies from the fund could go to camp, a sport, college, trade school and/or anything that might have been more personally involved with or enjoyed by your student. Scholarship funds do NOT have to be large gifts either. Many scholarships for camps come from a local fund or gift on behalf of someone that has previously attended or thought highly of the program. Another fabulous way to honor your student.

Last, but certainly not least on- Tuesday’s Teacher’s Corner: 10 Ways to Honor a Student That Has Passed Away

rock on sea shore

~ Paint Rocks and Place Them at Favorite Spots-

Another GREAT way to honor your student that has passed into eternity is to paint rocks. Super simple and as detailed as your students desire. After each student paints a rock (or few), then you can hide them or place them in different areas you enjoyed together. A memorial for the student that has passed. Either the rocks can remain at the school and/or church or they can bring them home to their favorite beautiful places for their own reminders of the friendships we make in this world.

Again, these are just a few ideas to get some new perspective on ways to honor a student that has passed. There are SO MANY MORE ways to do this. With benches, gardens, memory bulbs and ornaments, to doing something special for the family; it is impossible to list all the ways to honor a sweet soul that passes into eternity. As a teacher though, you can smile knowing you gave your best and not be afraid to remember your “missing student” too. Living in their honor, enjoying the things they cannot is a great gift in itself! Again, thank you for loving your students and investing into the next generation. As you plant seeds of beauty and truth, may the LORD continue to bless your efforts.

Happy Teaching!

P.S. But, I am knew here, how do you know heaven is real and my know for sure it is my eternal home? –> READ MORE of Travel Down the Roman’s Road or Let Us Travel