by Kristin Casale
Stow -- "She endured things with such courage and bravery that I don't know I could have."
That is how Paula McVey remembered her daughter, Katherine, during an assembly at Lakeview Intermediate School May 18. The occasion marked the two-month anniversary of Katherine's death at the age of 12 after battling a brain tumor. Katherine attended Lakeview before she died.
Paula wore her daughter's "beads of courage" during the assembly for Lakeview students, teachers and Katherine's family and friends. Katherine made the beads while receiving treatment for her illness.
Everyone in attendance wore silver ribbons with flowers to remember Katherine, and banners with messages of support for her family hung in the gym.
A group of Katherine's friends wore pink shirts with messages that said, "We will always remember."
There were few dry eyes in the audience as those who knew Katherine remembered her.
Guidance counselor Susan Deitrick opened the memorial.
"We're here today to celebrate a young woman in our midst," she said May 18. "She showed us a lot about life that we might never have seen before."
Katherine's third-grade teacher, Jenny McGovern, said her former student persevered through adversity.
"Katherine taught me to be stubborn and never give up," she said. "I hope that when challenges come my way, I will be able to fight and never give up."
Leslie Detweiler, Katherine's first-grade teacher, described the girl as caring and having a positive impact on those whom she knew.
"I was lucky to be a part of such a well-lived life," said Detweiler.
Principal Kim Lockhart said everyone who knew Katherine will miss her.
"Katherine will forever be remembered for the ways she was able to touch our lives," he said, stating the school will include a tile for her in the building's wall of tiles for each student who attends Lakeview. "She has changed all of us."
He added Lakeview gives several scholarships to graduating seniors each year, and one of this year's scholarships will be named after Katherine.
Assistant Principal Dave Ulbricht said Katherine was not an average child.
"A superhero is being remembered here," he said. "Even during the darkest days of her battle with cancer, she focused on the needs of others."
During the program, the Lakeview Singers sang "One Candle Lights the Way" for Katherine, and many of the students became emotional after they concluded the song.
Katherine's aunt, Lorie Csipke, encouraged the students present during the assembly to show the strength Katherine did. She said each year Lakeview will give three students "The Katherine McVey Citizenship Award" to honor the girl.
Csipke also thanked Katherine's classmates for supporting her during her illness.
"Each of you in your own way made Katherine the person that she was," she said.
Katherine's best friend, Baylee Walters, echoed Ulbricht's description.
"[Katherine] was an everyday hero," said Walters.
Jessie Knight, another friend of Katherine's, described her as "the best kind of friend you could ask for. She was so easy to love."
Student Shannon Hoffman met Katherine when they participated in soapbox derby races, and said she will miss her friend.
"She taught me to be kind to others and to live life to the fullest," said Hoffman. "She taught me to cherish the time you have with the people you love."