Monthly Archives: May 2013

Flowering Spring Bushes & Trees

It’s been so long since I’ve shot something  not on assignment I think I almost forgot how to do it.

Cherry tree

Cherry tree – 1/5000 @2.8 135mm ISO100

Weeping cherry tree

Weeping cherry tree – 1/1600 @4.0 200mm ISO100

Weeping cherry tree

Weeping cherry tree – 1/2500 @2.8 200mm ISO100

Weeping cherry tree

Weeping cherry tree – 1/3200 @2.8 200mm ISO100

Weeping cherry tree - 1/400 @4.0 84mm ISO100

Weeping cherry tree – 1/400 @4.0 84mm ISO100

Forsythia in bloom - 1/2000 @4.0 105mm ISO100

Forsythia in bloom – 1/2000 @4.0 105mm ISO100

Timberlane Student Gives Moving Speech at Windham High School

The high school auditorium was silent for thirty minutes on May 4th as eighteen year old Chris DePietro talked about his car accident and subsequent recovery.

In the fall of 2010, Chris was a junior at Timberlane High School. Like many high school students, Chris was exploring his interests, trying to find a place for himself in the world. He was a singer and dancer, as expressed through his participation in theater. Chris was bullied by other students because of his interest in the arts.

Chris’s life was forever changed by a number of poor decisions on that early fall day. He had decided to fight with one of the boys picking on him at the Friday night football game. In preparation for the fight, he drank a forty ounce beer to motivate himself. He then got into his car, intoxicated. Driving himself to the fight, Chris’s car went out of control, crashing into a tree on his own street. He was not wearing his seat belt.

Chris was not expected to survive. He recalls the sentiment of the responding medical team inside the ambulance en route to Lawrence General Hospital- what a shame; this one isn’t going to make it.

A month passed before Chris was conscious again. He awoke unable to speak or move, his broken body kept alive by feeding and breathing tubes. He desperately wanted to communicate, to tell people what happened, how he was feeling. Although the feeding tube provided necessary nutrients, he hadn’t eaten anything in a month and felt as though he was starving. Chris was unable to digest food and his requests for food were denied. Friends and classmates snuck chewing gum into his hospital room just so he could have something to chew on.

After many challenging months of physical and speech therapy, Chris is able to walk and speak. He sees the tree with the missing bark he crashed into nearly every day, which has since been named after him. With slow but determined speech and movement he told the audience, “I made a series of stupid decisions. Don’t be stupid.”

Following Chris’s speech the audience members waited in a long line to hug him or shake his hand. Windham police and fire officials also waited to thank him for providing a valuable community service by sharing his story and commend him for his bravery.

Windham High School Assistant Principal Bob Dawson, Assistant Principal at Timberlane at the time of the accident, said, “Chris is an inspiration to students because he is willing to be brutally and totally honest with them about his experience. The kids relate to him because they are close in age and based on the way he puts such a positive spin on what they see as a completely negative experience. His attitude is so positive, so caring, and so pure that the students made an incredible connection in a very short time. I am certain it will have a great impact on their decisions prom weekend and far beyond that as well.”

Chris continues his recovery and intends to write a book about his experience. He will graduate from Timberlane with the Class of 2013.

Bullying is a serious issue. If you are being bullied or know someone who is, Windham Police School Resource Officer Jessica Flynn advises, “we encourage all students to report any incidents of bullying to parents, teacher, guidance or myself so we can address it immediately. Bullying is an unacceptable behavior and is not tolerated in or out of school. Any reports of bullying will be fully investigated and disciplinary actions will be taken if determined to be true.”