Eastside Catholic School teachers passed out academic awards during a Feb. 10 school assembly. But the thoughts of everyone in the school that day were with someone who wasn’t there.
Principal Greg Marsh spoke to the gathering of several hundred parents and students about Molly Hightower, a graduate of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, part of Eastside’s community of Catholic schools around the state. Molly, 22, had spent the last few years dedicated to helping the poor children and orphans of Haiti.
A resident of Port Orchard, Molly, was volunteering with a local aid organization Friends of the Orphans at a Port-au-Prince orphanage when she was killed during the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Marsh recognized her spirit of service to others and said one her key projects was to provide shoes in Haiti to those without them. He announced that in the days leading up to Wednesday’s memorial, the school and the surrounding community helping to gather over 5,000 pairs of shoes.
Joining Marsh were Molly grandparents, John and Annette, who led a procession of students and friends through the hallways of the school, past rows upon rows of shoes donated in Molly’s name to the people of Haiti.
“It is truly not enough to know,” he said. “No, we must do more — we must use that knowledge in a way that serves others, we must act, we must do, we must respond to the needs of our world.”
Leading the procession through the hallways and carrying a crucifix, seniors Danielle Ulrich and Ronnie Mae Ayers said they believed the shoe drive helped unify the spirit of the community at home to Molly, and to the people of Haiti.
“That’s what Eastside does,” said Ayers. “It’s linking our school to her. We wanted to keep her goal going.”