At the beginning of his reign Solomon’s response to the Lord was, “I am but a little child.” There are three types of professionals that can make an eternal impact on a child’s life: doctors, policemen, and teachers. Students are like wet cement, whatever imprints are left on their molds, will stay with them for a lifetime.
Samantha, daughter of Jacqueline and Bareo McKenzie joined the Linden school during her formative years. She was kind, loving, compassionate, assertive—a model child in the making. She was the member of every singing group in the school and used her talents to glorify God. She was even known as a renowned preacher at her church.
She was just a little child, but her demeanor reflected that of someone who had an encounter with God. The lessons taught by her school and church made lasting impressions on her mind. Her parents too, noticed that she was a friend of God.
She made that yearly academic ascent until she got to grade five. At the beginning of sixth grade, her family relocated to the Bronx. Anytime they were in the area, she took the opportunity to stop by and visit her friends at the Linden school.
Unfortunately, Samantha became ill with a life-threatening disease. The doctors tried relentlessly to save her. Tubes were inserted and ran like wires on an electrical pole to resuscitate her. When death seemed inevitable, the tubes were removed and the icy jaws of death engulfed her feeble body. With no objections, she went to sleep on May 5, 2016.
She was scheduled to be buried at a cemetery some distance away, but a generous member donated a spot so that she could rest closer to home until the Savior comes. She was laid to rest on May 16, 2016.
Gone, but not forgotten is that little angel who was just loaned to us for 12 years. Gone, but not forgotten are the indelible imprints that were left by her teachers. Gone, but not forgotten is the spot where angels guard intently, so that they can present her when the King comes in. Samantha McKenzie is gone, but she will never be forgotten.
Laurene Richards-Usher is the principal of the Linden school in Queens, New York.