The Montessori preschool that Karen founded (first of seven now) here on our grounds is named in memory and honor of her good friend Caryn Pierce who died way too soon on April 14, 2011. My Karen taught with her for years and honors her birthday every year. Today is that day and Karen is hanging a framed picture of her friend just like the one at the right in the school today. My Karen also wrote the following about her good friend and soul mate who lives in her heart now and forever. Karen Wiggins (Mama Africa) wrote:
"A music teacher in elementary school is everything to all the kids. At least Caryn Pierce was. She taught about black musicians and singers during black history month. She taught special education. She taught 120 kindergarteners and that many first, second, third, forth, and fifth graders as well. These kids enjoyed her attention and grew in confidence each of the five years they attended their school with her as their music teacher participating each year in a program for their parents. Once they were in their place on stage, they were perfectly behaved and knew just what they were going to do.
I once attended a summer program with Caryn learning about the East African Culture and music and dance at the Walton Arts Center in Fayettville Arkansas. We were already close friends but we became even closer that summer.
Once I retired and my husband and I moved away to Tanzania to become missionaries, I still kept up with Caryn. Hearing that she had cancer, I was so very sad. I was in Arkansas visiting the U.S. on the day she died and I attended her funeral. Her son, Austin was only 16 and her daughter, Sydney, was only 13 when she passed away.
When you have a friend as wonderful as Caryn, you want to keep her sprit alive. I have started seven pre-schools here now and named the first, Santa Caryn Pierce Pre-School and English After School. On her birthday each year we celebrate her birthday. Today is her birthday and after looking for so long for a place that can print in color, we now have two pictures to put in our school of Caryn. As our fundi was making the frames, he looked at her face and was silent for a moment and then asked, “Is she an angel?” Shaban and I just looked at each other and said at the same time, “Yes, she is.”