Polk Central students, staff remember Lani Reasoner

Published 2:03 pm Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Polk Central School&squo;s staff and students recently dedicated a memorial garden to Mrs. Lani Reasoner, who was the speech therapist for Polk County Schools from October of 2000 until 2007, when she lost her battle with cancer.

During the dedication, Mrs. Reasoner&squo;s former students held metallic pinwheels in honor of their beloved teacher, while teachers Beth Packer, Kim McFarland, and Gail Sptiznogle, along with school volunteer Leah Foster, sang&bsp; &dquo;Wishing Your Were Here.&dquo; Mrs. Reasoner&squo;s family that included her husband Stuart, son Jason and daughter-in-law Stephanie and her grandchildren Paityn and Cole as well as her friend Emily, were present for the dedication.

&dquo;We wanted a special place that was a fitting memorial to our dear friend and fellow teacher,&dquo; said teacher Renae Calhoun, who organized the memorial.

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Retired Principal Cathy Childress shared her memories of Mrs. Reasoner, saying that what she remembered most about Mrs. Reasoner was her smile.

Mrs. Reasoner&squo;s husband spoke briefly saying that he and his family appreciated the garden and that he felt Lani would love the garden. He also said that he also knew Lani would live on in the many students she loved and helped during her career.&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;

Reasoner&squo;s former students ranging from high school to elementary school ages participated in the creation of the garden that was decorated in Mrs. Reasoner&squo;s favorite color, purple. It contains numerous butterfly plants, a hummingbird feeder, a bird bath, wind chimes that were hand painted by art teacher Becky Lewis, a small bench and statues of three cats in honor of Mrs. Reasoner&squo;s favorite pets who were named Laodice, Homer and Ganymede. A commemorative marker bearing Mrs. Reasoner&squo;s name was placed at the center of the garden and footstones shaped like cats create the walkway.

Polk Central&squo;s School Beautification Committee completed much of the work on the garden along with three of Mrs. Reasoner&squo;s former students who are now in high school, Ramon Chavez, Oscar Pena and Chris Brazzo, who helped construct the garden as part of their occupational course of study curriculum&squo;s community service. &bsp;

The entire Polk Central staff collected money from their &dquo;blue jean days&dquo; to help fund the project and two community businesses Slater Turf Farm and Nelon Construction donated soil, mulch and sod.

article submitted by Stacey Stafford