Kirsten Lawson

Hughes was the guy you always looked for in a crowd. I think I’ll always look for him. I don’t know if I will ever shake that habit because, for me, he is and always will be LM.

Kirsten+Lawson

How to put into words what Mr. Hughes meant to me. Well, let’s start at the beginning. It all began back in 2001, when I had the privilege of having him as both my homeroom teacher and my History teacher during my junior year at LM. I was one of the lucky ones. I got to see him first thing every morning and I was always greeted with, “Yo, Lawson!” I loved being in his class, learning from him, laughing with him; he made school fun. I always felt like I was in his inner circle—which I now realize is how he made everyone feel. Most people know him as their principal, but just imagine his creativity and humor being channeled into one classroom environment. It was special, to say the least. He always encouraged us to think … and laugh. I remember one day, he had us move all of the desks to the side of the room so that we’d have space to arrange our chairs into a big circle. We all were assigned different important people in US history and then had a debate about a modern day topic. This was the day he asked us to call him “Lord Hughes,” which caught on and stuck for the rest of the year … by his design, I’m sure!  I love that my knowledge and appreciation of US history has HUGHES stamped right on it.

During my senior year, Mr. Hughes became the Assistant Athletic Director, so he was at most of my sporting events. I believe this is also around the time when the “Mr.” was dropped from his name and he became simply “Hughes” to most, though at that point pronounced with just one “u.”  I wouldn’t say any of my sports teams were particularly successful that year, so Hughes had any number of jokes to crack the day after a game whenever I would pop into his office. But, in true Hughes form, he always offered a positive comment and would mention a little thing that my team or I did well in the game.  

Post-college, I coached basketball at LM when Hughes was the Principal. He was incredibly supportive, even in the toughest of situations. Over the years, I’ve found myself at various LM sporting events, supporting former students in a game or to support Ries and his squad. At every single game, I always looked for Hughes. I’d get a big “Yo, Lawson!” and a hug and then he’d ask me a question about my family. Hughes was the guy you always looked for in a crowd. I think I’ll always look for him. I don’t know if I will ever shake that habit because, for me, he is and always will be LM.  

So, that’s my history of Hughes. I’m pretty lucky, right? He was one of my heroes. Losing Hughes has been devastating and utterly heartbreaking. It’s hard to put into words—it just feels dark to me. His death has shaken us all. He was our leader, our heart. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. I know I will always miss him, but I am working on channeling my best inner Hughes spirit when I walk into my school each day. I think if we all channel our inner Hughes, we will keep his spirit alive and make every day a bit sunnier.

close

The Merionite Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest news in your inbox, every issue.