Arianna Tribute

Arianna Tatum Tribute
September 2, 2010
Family and friends gathered at Face to Face  to cry, laugh, and share memories about former Academy student, Arianna Tatum. Arianna attended the Academy for over 2 years and shared her strong spirit and tremendous gifts with all who knew her. Arianna passed away on August 11th, 2010. 
The event was an opportunity for the community to express their deep felt emotion and sense of loss since that tragic August day. Friends described Arianna as a beautiful and talented young woman who was kind to all individuals regardless of their background. Numerous people mentioned how Arianna was always present to pick them up every time they may fall. Others commented on her outgoing personality, the quick nature of her walk and talk, and her angel like singing voice. Family members including her mother, father, and sister expressed their heartfelt thanks for the support and prayers of thousands of people across the country. They acknowledge the huge void in their lives, but also pointed out how Arianna’s life had brought so many people together. 
Banners, cards, and pictures were all donated in order to create a memorial for celebrating Arianna's life.  These items will be on permanent display in the Academy. If you would like to contribute any photos, poetry, or other forms of writing to the memorial, please send materials to Jennifer at
Arianna and the Rainbow
There were a few of us still hanging around the lobby, catching up with one another after most of Arianna’s friends and family had gone. The last of us were reluctant to go because we knew it would be a long time before we might see each other again. Our eyes were red from the tears we cried but the hallways of the school also echoed with laughter as we remembered better times.  Only a person like Arianna could bring this collection of people at this time and at this place.
A few of the group stood up to leave and we exchanged phone numbers, e-mails, and hugs. As they exited out the door, a stiff wind began to blow. Dark clouds formed before us on a day that had shown nothing but sun. And then, shockingly, quarter sized balls of hail came hurtling from the sky. The pounding of the hail created overlapping sounds of metallic thumps on the roofs of the school and our cars. Almost as soon as it started, it was over: a three minute storm of icy fury on a summer night.
Then, something miraculous happened. Against the backdrop of a black sky, a brilliant rainbow began to engulf the outside of the school. The rainbow was full, filled with all of nature’s colors. It stretched from one end of the school to the other like a bridge to paradise. We all gazed at each other with a look of astonishment. It was hard to believe that this was a product of chance or some sort of atmospheric coincidence.  I quickly snapped several pictures of the rainbow, some you can view below. But, like so many other things of beauty, the photos do no justice in comparison to what our eyes could see.
I like to believe that Arianna was sending us a message from above. Like her life on earth, so much of the human experience is filled with harsh realities like a hard hail pounding us from on high. And yet, even in the most tragic of moments, in times of great despair, there emerges a sense of hope and tranquility like a rainbow blanketing a stormy sky. Arianna might have been reminding us that there is beauty everywhere once again.

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