Willis Road creates memorial for Madeline McTier
by Celia Shortt
Fourth-grade teacher Noel Smith still remembers his former student Madeline McTier as a 9-year-old girl, and he wants to honor that memory and her life through a memorial at Willis Road Elementary School.
“I had her in class years ago and knew that she was ill,” he said. “Recently, I heard she passed away, and it struck me what she had gone through. I had to do something.”
Originally, Smith planned to have the memorial behind the school near the vegetable garden. But, on the advice of the principal, Dr. Charles Smith, new arrangements were made for the memorial to be held in the front of the school.
The memorial includes an arbor and marble bench, newly engraved with McTier’s name and birthdate. The cool, gray marble is surrounded by small gravel paths and azaleas.
“I hope it helps the McTiers know that a lot of people were supporting her that the family may not even have been aware of,” said Smith. “I think it helps us with closure, too.”
The Coweta Community was also involved in creating this memorial. Smith was put in touch with the granite company that designed and created the bench, as well as a local business that provided the remaining materials needed at close to cost. Parents also gave donations for the project.
The McTier family is honored that Willis Road is creating this memorial for their late daughter.
“We are so thrilled and touched that Willis Road Elementary would do something so wonderful in Madeline's memory,” said McTier’s mother, Jennifer McTier. “Our biggest fear is that people will forget Madeline. Life goes on and people get busy. This memorial will remind others, especially children, of Madeline.”
“When they ask about who she was, we hope others tell of her strong determination in everything she did. Madeline fought in the classroom, in sports and in her friendships,” McTier added. “We can never thank the school enough. She loved her Willis Road family and we will forever hold them in our hearts.”