This is an excerpt from a sympathy card received in August 2012 from a retired vice-principal of Prince Andrew High School.

“I have been a teacher for 33 years and most students are a blur in my memory – except for a handful that you will never forget. When I first met James he greeted me with “the smile” – a smile that was both honest and refreshing.

For the next three years James always greeted me with “that smile” in the hallway of Prince Andrew High School. We always took a few minutes to chat and James would ask how I was and I always felt a genuine concern for me and he actually listen to your answers in the conversation. It’s hard to find young people who listens before they speak. I always found James to be like an elder soul wrapped in a youthful body – he had wisdom and reflections beyond his years.

I liked your son James a great deal – he had values and respect in a time when few do. Even though James wasn’t part of my daily life – I’ll miss him, knowing a good man left far too early. If James had been my son I would have been so proud and thankful for the joy he brought to my life – I can’t imagine your loss.”