Contra Costa Times: Slain teacher’s legacy lives at Rodeo school
Photo credit: Aric Crabb
“What was a patch of dirt at the entrance of St. Patrick School is now a tribute to one of the school’s most beloved teachers, who was stabbed to death in October in her Hercules home.
A prayer grotto for Susie Ko — unveiled after morning Mass on Sunday — was blessed by the Rev. Larry Young before churchgoers, members of the Ko family and the Eagle Scout who spent 500 hours building it. Young said the grotto, which includes a statue of Mary, serves as a reminder of the dedication of teachers, especially Ko.
After the brief blessing, a teary-eyed Simon Ko, Susie Ko’s son, touched the wooden grotto and posed for pictures with his father, Kelvin Ko, and aunt Alice Chiu in front of a portrait of his mother.
The church and school have been a second home for the Ko family. The mother of four taught there for 12 years, and the family has attended services there for more than 30 years. “It reminds us that we’re not alone in missing her and that she really influenced a lot of lives,” Simon Ko said. “She’s still very much alive, not only in our hearts.”
Casey O’Neal, 15, of Hercules, built the grotto in his family’s garage for his Eagle Scout project, which also included installing a fountain. O’Neal never had Ko as a teacher but remembered her as a warm and uplifting presence on campus. “She was always telling (us) what a good job (we) were doing,” O’Neal said.
From the Ko Family — Thank you to everyone that was involved in building such a beautiful memorial for Susie. Especially the O’Neal family, who rebuilt the grotto after it was nearly done — because it wasn’t perfect! Sounds like something my mother would have done if a sweater she was knitting just wasn’t quite perfect :).