ICCS dedicates trees in remembrance of student

By By Nichole Osinski / American Press

Patrick Rider was a “special person” who had “the sweetest smile” and was a talented athlete known for his “baseball skills.”

This is how the fifth-grade students described their former classmate who died of cancer two years ago.

Students, teachers and administrators attended a Friday ceremony in which two trees were dedicated to Patrick in front of

Immaculate Conception Cathedral School. Patrick’s parents, Shaine and Claire Rider, also were present.

After a song by ICCS students and a short prayer, each child read passages from letters they had written to Patrick. Students

spoke about his time with them and what they remembered most about their classmate.

During the ceremony, students said Patrick had inspired them and that they missed and loved him.

“I know you are having a good time in heaven,” said one student.

“I remember your smile. It was the sweetest smile,” another classmate said.

Fifth-grader John-Patrick Broussard said he remembered how Patrick always liked to play and how he never gave up. Fellow student

Carson Mixon said his classmate was everyone’s friend and he was a “special person.”

The cancer was found during his pre-K school year after Patrick began experiencing pain in one of his legs. He was diagnosed

with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that forms in nerve tissue. His teacher at the time, Rose Viau, said he was only in

class part of the year and spent the other time receiving treatment in Houston. She said the students would Skype him, and

they did lessons together online.

“He was a smart little boy and creative,” she said. “It was unbelievable when we found out (about the cancer).”

For 4 1/2 years Patrick battled the illness. His kindergarten teacher Jolynn Marcantel said when he was in her class, he

was considered to be partially in remission due to treatment. She said at the beginning of the year, the chemotherapy had

left him without hair, but as the year went on, his hair grew, and he was present for most of his classes.

However, his medications left him susceptible to the sun, and outside playtimes meant donning hats and slathering on sunscreen.

Marcantel said this didn’t stop him from enjoying his time outdoors.

“Nothing slowed him down; he was full of life,” she said. “When it was time to go outside, he was ready to go.”

Patrick’s first- and second-grade years were spent in and out of the hospital. On March 6, 2010, during his third-grade school

year, he passed away. He was 9 years old.

Principal Dinah Bradford said now, once

a year, they wear green for St. Patrick — their Patrick. The trees

dedicated Friday

were planted last year on St. Patrick’s Day. Now those trees,

blessed with holy water, are reminders of the student who still

holds a place in so many hearts.

“The trees kind of remind us of the circle of life,” Monsignor Jace Eskind said. “For us, when one dies, life is not ended

— life continues in heaven.”