Elshadai Aberra| Web Editor-in-Chief
Floral Friday on March 19 wasn’t just a dress up day at Avon High School, yet a day of celebration of social studies teacher Aron Bright’s life.
Over 2,000 dollars were raised within just one day; the donations to go to a bench dedicated to Bright, the leftover money dedicated to Bright’s charity of choice, the Jon L. Mitchell Foundation.
Dr. Catherine Trinkle organized the event as she wanted to escape her bubble of grief and shed positivity in light of her and the Avon community’s mourning.
“I’ve been so sad and sometimes when you’re sad the best thing you can do is think of somebody else. So this was a good way to get out of my ‘selfishishness’,” said Trinkle. “Like we had a community member, a parent, who wrote a check for 150 dollars and that just shows how much that family was touched by Mr. Bright. Those of us who knew Mr. Bright, we believed that he could say one thing that could touch you and stay with you forever.”
Trinkle said she didn’t just want to celebrate Bright, she wanted to leave a piece of him with Avon High School.
“When I worked at Hazlewood Junior High School in New Albany, there was a tree and a plack underneath, so I went in and asked the attendance secretary about it and she started crying and said [it was for] a young teacher who died of anorexia and meant a lot to [them]. The tree was her way of keeping that young teacher alive in her heart,” said Trinkle. “I knew that we needed to do something like this so that in 20 years when there’s a new teacher who says ‘hey, tell me about that tree bench,’ there’s a young teacher who says ‘let me tell you about it.”
Trinkle emphasized that Floral Friday wasn’t a product of just her, yet a collaboration of people, one of which being senior Brayton Nihiser.
“I was already planning the Floral Friday and collection of donations for the tree and bench from the staff,” said Trinkle. “So when Mr. Meyer told me that Brayton had asked him about getting cards to the Bright family that her and several friends had written, I realized that some students would like a way to connect to Mr. Bright. That some students, especially seniors, might be having a difficult time with his passing and want a way to sort of give back to him.”
Math teacher Kyle Meunier, having known Bright since he was in seventh grade, said there had been a silly yet memorable reason behind the choice of floral clothing.
“Way back in 2007 or 2008, Mr. Bright and I were neighbors in A pod with a group of teachers. We were the A team, that’s what we called ourselves,” said Meunier, “and we just tried to create this comradery with our freshmen kids, so Mr. Bright had the idea that we would wear flannel on Fridays in the winter. At the time, flannel was not cool, [but] we somehow convinced everyone in that group around the school to wear flannel on Fridays and it was striking.”
Meunier continued and said that once spring time hit, the ‘comrades’ faced an issue.
“Mr. Bright was a little warm in his flannel, he didn’t know quite what to do, and I just thought— well, let’s do Floral Friday to keep the alliteration going. So he started wearing his big, massive Hawaiian shirts and that kind of took off that year,” said Meunier. “It was really just him trying to create a bond through the flannel and it transitioning into Hawaiian floral shirts in the spring.”
Senior and previous VU American History student of Bright, Laphat Jean, said she is glad to have participated in Floral Friday and that Bright was her favorite teacher at Avon.
“I think it’s really nice to honor him rather than stay in mourning,” said Laphat. “Avon High School deserves to have a little piece of him that lasts forever.”