Purple tribute to honor teacher

Paint the Gym Purple is Friday night at Hunt games

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In response to the tragic loss of a popular Fike High School teacher, students, staff and community members will be wearing purple at upcoming basketball games.

Consumer science teacher Pamela Eatmon, a Wilson County Schools teacher for 20 years, was killed Jan. 22 in an apparent murder-suicide.

Fike students and staff wore her favorite color, purple, one day last week in her memory and also gathered in the gym for a memorial service.

For Friday’s basketball games between Fike High School and Hunt High School, those attending will “Paint the Gym Purple” in honor of Eatmon.

“We have an amazing set of schools here in Wilson County Schools,” said Randy St. Clair, principal of Fike High School. “We play Hunt High School Feb. 8, and Hunt reached out to us and said, ‘Listen, we know Mrs. Eatmon, and we just want to show our support. So at our basketball game, we are going to request that students and staff and community and whoever shows up wear purple in remembrance of Mrs. Eatmon.’

“It was just amazing,” St. Clair said. “They had a student create a flier at their school and shared it with us, so we told our staff about it and all of our students about it to show our love for her in a very small but powerful way.”

St. Clair said Eatmon was vitally important at the school.

“She was a leader in our building,” St. Clair said. “She led out PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) in our school. She was a person that really just made sure that we put students first. She embodied that. She was all about just making sure that we prioritized students before anything else.”

St. Clair said that Eatmon meant much to many.

“To not have her here and leading in that capacity any longer is certainly felt, and it is hard to overcome,” St. Clair said. “She was definitely a friend and was someone you could count on for inspiration.”

St. Clair explained that it is more than about academia when you go to a school.

Students are there to learn, but much of it is about teacher/student relationships and that is what Eatmon was all about.

“She understood the saying that ‘Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ In a high school, when you can walk into a classroom and have a teacher who didn’t lower the expectation but helped you meet those expectations by building a relationship with you, that means everything.”

Other teachers learned by being able to go into Eatmon’s classroom and see her model those relationships. She talked about it at faculty meetings.

“It meant everything to shape our culture in our building,” St. Clair said.

St. Clair said that the simple gesture of wearing Eatmon’s favorite color for the basketball games will help everyone with the grieving process.

“There is no replacing her. There is no forgetting her, so those little things like her favorite color, they mean so much as far as comfort to the people who are hurting, to put a smile on your face. That’s what Mrs. Eatmon was all about,” St. Clair said.

“She wanted to make sure that you understood that it’s going to be OK and you can smile your way through it. Something as simple as wearing her favorite color gives some comfort to us. I just appreciate all of those and everyone from Wilson and outside of Wilson who reached out to show their support. We just appreciate it.”