MH17 tragedy: Albion Park school commemorates Michael and Carol Clancy

The memorial to former deputy principal Michael Clancy at Albion Park Public School. Picture: ROBERT PEET
The memorial to former deputy principal Michael Clancy at Albion Park Public School. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Cars, trucks and buses bustled past on Tongarra Road, but inside the gates of Albion Park Public School the world was quiet and still.

‘‘In loving memory of Mr Clancy,’’ read the placard stuck to an artists easel  in a grassy square outside the school front office.

‘‘In our hearts forever.’’

In contrast to the chaos and confusion at the crash site, the political screaming matches erupting in parliament houses across the globe, the diplomatic agreements being hastily hammered out regarding access and investigation and recovery and repatriation, the school is calm.

Students arrive in front of the placard in dribs and drabs; a few here, a group there, a small clutch following. 

Some look for a few seconds and walk away. Others stand a minute or longer staring at the photo, as some sit down in contemplation.

Friends embrace friends. Parents leave bunches of flowers wrapped in clear plastic or silver cellophane.

Classes are on, but today is far from normal. 

Teachers are trying to bring some semblance of balance and composure to students rocked by news over the weekend their popular former deputy principal and his wife Carol were onboard MH17, which went down in eastern Ukraine early Friday morning. 

Some are running their classes as normal. Some have taken class outside into the weak winter sunshine for the day. 

Counsellors are at the school to speak with distressed students or staff.

‘‘Students can come to the memorial as they feel the need, for some quiet reflection,’’ principal Glenn Daniels said.

‘‘Our programs are flexible today.’’

The school held a special assembly on Monday morning ‘‘to give students an opportunity to talk and let their feelings out if they need to’’, Mr Daniels said.

Students are filing in and out of the grassy square, paying tribute and leaving tribute. 

School is in, but Monday is anything but normal for the staff and students at Albion Park Public School.