Our teacher, our mentor, our friend
Edited by Julia Pavlosek and Serenity Castleberry
The Billie Bulletin asked for student tributes for Kris Violette, our vocal teacher, who died after a long battle with cancer on Feb. 7, 2019. Her gifts to us are profound and in her death, we are bereft.
“Mrs. Violette was my favorite person here. She always listened to kids when they were having problems. When our choir group was feeling sad, she always cheered us up. My favorite memory of her is when we were having our little pow-wow and she would make jokes that would make the whole class laugh. When people would talk about something sad, she always made a joke to cheer that person up. We love her and will miss her.” –Hailey Robinette
“She was always honest with us and she would always tell us about her condition. There aren’t a lot of adults that disclose us with information like that. Mrs. Violette was fun and I loved the day where we would just talk instead of doing music. She was always the sunshine on a cloudy day, she was a blip of color in a world of otherwise gray. She was always there for us and we all miss her a lot.” — Emily Krauss
“Kris to me was not just a teacher. She was a mentor and a person I could talk to and trust. I have known Kris since I was in third grade. In 2012, she coached my soccer team. I will never forget this one practice where it was very rainy and windy. We decided we would just scrimmage and have a fun practice. Kris started running to the other end of the field and slipped in a puddle and was COVERED in mud. Jeff then ran over to help her up and as he was doing so, he also slipped and fell in the mud right beside her.
Growing up through middle school and high school, I looked up to her as a very big role model in my life. I could sit in Kris’ office and talk to her about things in my life and she was always there to support me in anything. I knew I could always go and talk with Kris when I was frustrated, tired, overwhelmed with school, or just wanting to talk. The first time I got my blood drawn, I made Kris stand right next to me in an effort to help relax me and she stayed the whole time, right there. Kris had the biggest heart out of anybody I have ever met. She was one of the kindest and most selfless people I know and I’ll always remember how she always put others before herself.” —Ajay Giri
“I loved walking into the choir room, and seeing her in her office, either getting ready for class, or waiting for her students. She used to always have her tomato soup ready for her to drink. She would always be there for her girls. There was one time that she let us spill our tea, and cry it out. But then there were times she told us to bring it together and sing. I loved when she told us to get to singing, this helped me focus on letting how I feel, and make it into something amazing with my choir family. She always made my day better walking into her classroom. She is the best teacher I’ve ever had. Thank you for everything you did for me Mrs. Violette. I love you.” —Serenity Castleberry
Kris was one of the most amazing people I have ever met.
She was funny and kind and always knew how to cheer me up when I was sad. There were a couple specific times where she had lots of humor. Like one time she said if we weren’t quiet, she would cut our tongues and put them in a jar. Scary! There was another time where she was drinking her huge jar of tomato soup. We were always making fun of her for that jar of tomato soup and how weird it was, but she taught me how to care more for music and how cool you could make it.”–Alejandro Ziolkowski
“Kris Violette helped me get through so many things in the time I knew her. She took time out of her day to make sure each and every one of her students was doing okay, even if she wasn’t. She will always be a huge part of my life, as I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for her great influence on me. Kris influenced my love in music, and let me know I shouldn’t be afraid to use my voice.
Under her teaching, I developed so much confidence in myself, because I knew if I were to mess up, she would be there to encourage me to keep going. When I would walk into her classroom, I felt like I was home. No words could ever describe how much she means to me. Kris Violette was the most selfless and caring person I have ever met…
Kris, I want to thank you for helping me believe in myself, being there to support me when I needed it most, and letting me know that the bad times don’t last forever.”–Shrista Morris
Kris Violette was not just a choir teacher. She was a mentor, mother figure, and a friend to everyone. She gave respect, confidence, and love to each and everyone of her students.
I have known Kris since I was in fourth grade. (I am a junior now.) One of my best friends is her wonderful daughter. I not only got to see Kris at school, but also got to see how she acts around her family. She was a light in and out of the classroom. Her sense of humor and overall presence was a gift to everyone around her… She was an amazing person. I miss her everyday.”–Morgan Murphy
“Every time I step into the vocal classroom, I think of Kris Violette. She was so much more than just a teacher to all of her students. We laughed with her, sang with her, and in the end, cried for her. Kris Violette meant so many things to me, and I’m sure all of my classmates would agree that no words could describe what she had taught us all.
At the beginning of the year, all of the sixth graders had to choose between band and vocal. While I thought that it would be cool to learn and instrument, Mrs. Violette’s wonder-striking personality won me over. She was funny, kind, and exactly what I wanted in a teacher (as well as role-model)…
I think that the reason every grade was so attached to her was because she shared everything. Her sense of humor was outstanding, and her love for her students was even greater. She was always so honest, and I will never forget about the characteristics she displayed while she was with us. Even in the darkest times, she was happy. That is something that I always want to be.”–—Mahayla Smith
“Kris Violette: It’s been one week, one week since you passed. It’s been really rough.
I miss you so much. When I walked into the choir room everyday I’d be yelling, “Mrs. Violette!!” over and over again. You’d always answer, and I’d always tell you about my day and you’d tell me about yours. Usually yours had something to do with tomato soup.
Your laughter and strength brought so much into this world and into every room you walked into. You instantly make the mood better, whether it’s a good day and you just fill the day with more joy, or it’s a bad day and you make a weird joke or randomly forget something.
Your sticky notes. Your tomato soup. Your smile. Your laugh. Your selflessness. Your courage and strength. And so much more. I love and miss you so much. I miss all the memories we’ve made. I’m going to remember them, and Chansonaires. We sang Remembering Decembers for you. For us. I have so many things I want to tell you and I know I never will.
But I know you’re in a better place and I know now that isn’t something that people just say. You were in a lot of pain and now you honestly aren’t. I know you wouldn’t want us sitting around feeling sad. You’d want us to celebrate your life as it was, because you loved your life and it was a good life. So that’s what I’m going to do.This is going to be a really long, hard road but we as a community love you so much Kris. Fly high.”–Alex Cartmill