September 2015

Cameron Jeffrey Beard
Cameron Beard
As you know, this summer the MacLaren community suffered a grievous loss: Cameron Jeffrey Beard, our friend and student, was tragically killed with his father while on a camping trip on July 15, 2015, just a day before his fourteenth birthday. This past Thursday, Mrs. Hall called us together for morning assembly, and welcomed Camille Beard, Cameron’s mother, as well as Cameron’s older sister and younger brother. Mrs. Hall recalled to us a boy of unusual integrity and sweetness and humility; a boy who stayed late at his church, quietly emptying all the trash cans; a boy who tried always to do the right thing. She described to us the process of gathering memories of Cameron from teachers, staff, and classmates in a beautiful handmade book. Mr. Alvarado then read anonymous selections from the book, among them the following:

I remember his gentle face. I remember thinking "What a gentle, kind boy you are." I remember that I always wanted to know what he was thinking.

I remember during morning uniform check Cameron would stand up and raise his pant legs to show that his socks were more than ankle-length. I remember that he was consistent and dutiful even in the small things. 

I remember a particular smile that showed Cameron enjoying the mischievous playfulness of his classmates in just the right way. 

I remember that when we had play tests in Orchestra, we were all super scared, and when one of us did well he was always really happy. It made him happy that someone else did well. 

I remember his smile. I thought that he always seemed so content with life almost as if he intuitively knew what it meant to simply be. 

I remember him being so intense and focused in class. I remember him staring at the teacher like his favorite chocolate-chip cookie. Even if he couldn't succeed at something, he would always try and wouldn't stop. 

I remember in capture the flag he would always sneak up on you. He was the best. You could look right at him and he would get right past you.

Following this reading, Cameron’s sister Elise, a MacLaren sophomore, sat at the grand piano and played a wrenching rendition of the hymn “Come Thou Fount” in memory of her brother. When Mrs. Hall returned to the podium, she was weeping, and struggled at times to speak. She thanked the Beard family for sharing their beloved son with us and gave Mrs. Beard a copy of the book, exhorting us to “have a good day, have a Cameron day,” and to “live our life in this MacLaren community in the way Cameron has lived.”

We are a small and close-knit community, and the unimaginable loss and grief of the Beard family have affected us powerfully. But we are so very grateful for the time we had with this bright, kind, loving, loyal child, this boy of the gentle smile.
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