Students Plan a Memorial Quilt

Sophia McCrimmon, Features Editor

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Mr O’Bryan was known for the creative quilts he made with his classes; pictured here is one from 2012.

Srishti Sanya
Mr O’Bryan was known for the creative quilts he made with his classes; pictured here is one from 2012.

After the passing of English teacher Bear O’Bryan on October 11, many members of the Maggie Walker community took time to remember all that was distinctive about his class. At the forefront of many memories was Mr. O’Bryan’s legendary quilt project, in which students created hand-sewn pieces, each symbolic of a literary work, that were then added to a unique class quilt.

In the wake of such a devastating loss, many students decided that the best way to remember Mr. O’Bryan’s legacy was by carrying on one of his beloved traditions. With his unique spirit in mind, a few students are coordinating the construction of a school-wide memorial quilt, made up of squares that students, teachers, and alumni create in remembrance of all Mr. O’Bryan gave to this community.

“The one thing that encompassed him, that everybody knew about him, was these quilts. The project seemed to be a great way to memorialize Mr. O’Bryan at this school in a way that words can’t,” said Emily Martin (`17), who helped organize the project and is contributing to its construction.

After gauging interest through a survey, student coordinators were surprised by an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. Over 100 people, many of them alumni, indicated interest in making a piece.

With the large number of contributors in mind, Robert Morris (`16) considers that logistically, the best shape for the project would be simply a collection of squares.

“There have been many designs that have been mulled over but I think the only way to do this is to have a uniform square pattern and just lay the pieces out,” said Morris, one of the students who is coordinating the project.

Despite having such an overwhelming task ahead of them, student coordinators are still motivated to work to make this project a reality.

“This project is lasting and it means a lot to a lot of people, so I think it’s worth the time and effort it’s going to take,” Martin said.

Morris is driven by an obligation to his fellow students who were affected by their tremendous loss.

“On the Monday after his passing I saw a lot of people who were just devastated,” Morris recalled, “My motivation is those people who were just really upset by this. With all the people that Mr. O’Bryan influenced, just to give up is not an option.”

Students hope that their final product will represent all that Mr. O’Bryan meant to the MLWGS community.

“What I’ve envisioned is a representation of the Maggie Walker Family. We lost someone from our community but now we’ll come together and show how much he meant to us as a school,” Morris said.

“This quilt will definitely preserve Mr. O’Bryan’s legacy because future students aren’t going to have him,” Martin said, “I think this is important because it keeps his voice alive in this school,”

The leaders welcome any others who would like to contribute. If you wish to get involved, please contact Morris ([email protected]) or Martin ([email protected]) over email or Facebook. The project is set to begin in early December.

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