A Letter of Love and Gratitude to Fairhaven

I’ll never forget the first time I drove down Queen Anne Road on my initial visit to Fairhaven. It was 2006, and accompanying me was my third child, Kieran. He was a newborn at the time, and Mark, the admissions clerk, carried him in his car seat while giving me the tour.

We were considering the school for our eldest son, Darius (Fairhaven class of 2018). Being the product of alternative education myself, I immediately knew we had found the right place for our growing young family. I could sense the feeling of belonging, inclusion and discovery on that first day; qualities that embody The Fairhaven School experience.

It almost sounds trite to say that through the last 16 years, the Fairhaven community has become like family. But indeed, it has! Never has that been as clear as it was over the last year.

This month, I am approaching the one-year mark of my cancer diagnosis. I was terrified to learn I had an extremely aggressive type of cancer, triple-negative breast cancer. When I spoke to Mark to inform him, the first thing he said was, “How can we help?”. And help you did!

From left: Darius, Zack, and Jessica, class of 2018.

While a pandemic was raging, school still managed to open safely. Our second son, Gavin, graduated in June of 2021. Sitting at the ceremony that hot June day, nauseous from the chemo, sweltering in my wig, I was filled with so many emotions. I felt pride in the accomplishments of Gavin and his fellow graduates. I felt fear, wondering if I’d survive long enough to see my other children take their turn at graduating as “Fairhaven Lifers”. I also felt love and support from everyone in the school community.

As I sit here now, I currently have no evidence of active disease. I am so grateful to the Fairhaven community. Throughout this entire ordeal of chemo, surgery, and radiation, I have been supported and uplifted by my Fairhaven family in ways I can never repay.

All this to say, Thank You! Thank you to every single person who helped us with rides, food, messages, money, prayers, love, light, and so much more. Having the school as a constant in my sons’ lives helped them to maintain a sense of normalcy while everything around them was in chaos.

I am eternally grateful that Fairhaven is part of our family. I can’t imagine having to go through what I did without your love and support. Thank you from myself and my entire family. I’m looking forward to many more years as a part of the community. Only two more Butler Boys to see walk across the stage at their commencement ceremonies! I can’t wait to savor those moments with my Fairhaven family.

Kathleen Butler
March, 2022

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