Dear Socrates Family

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Dear Socrates Family,

Happy New Year!  I hope that your 2016 is off to a wonderful start and that the winter vacation allowed your family time to relax, create memories, and share laughs.

Over the holiday break, our community received the very sad news that two of our Socrates parents had passed away.  Mr. Jon McCollum, father of Jake (Class of '14), Josh (7th grade), Jack (4th grade), and Annabeth (entering Kindergarten fall of 2016), lost his battle with brain cancer.  He fought bravely to the end and will be remembered fondly by all who have known him.  

Mrs. Tammy Coppola, mother of Samantha (7th grade) and Sydney (2nd grade) died unexpectedly.  Her family is awaiting autopsy results to make sense of this tragedy.  Those that spoke of Mrs. Coppola at her memorial service reminded us how much she loved her family and how she always wanted to help others.

I am incredibly saddened to know that we are starting 2016 without these two very special people, but I also know that our Socrates Family is more amazing than words can describe.  As news trickled out through social connections, families stepped up to volunteer help and support.  These next weeks and months will begin to shape a new reality for the McCollum and Coppola families as they learn how to live without someone they love.  We have created a sign-up for those of you who would like to help by providing dinners for the family.

To provide a meal for the Coppola family click here >>

To provide a meal for the McCollum family click here>>

Moments like these remind us just how precious life really is.  We remember loved ones we have lost and our children may ask questions that we are not prepared to answer.  I have no easy answers for you and respect that every family wants to discuss matters of this importance in ways that represent their cultural, religious, and moral beliefs.  I did a quick search of some resources to help talk to children about death and here are two that have some useful information:

If your child knows any of the children affected on a personal level, you can help them understand that their friend may be sad and not know how to express that.  Being patient and understanding will help their friend feel supported during this time.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out in support of the McCollum and Coppola families.  I know they are incredibly grateful for your love and kindness.  


Kristen N. Priganc

Socrates Academy


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Socrates Academy 3909 Weddington Rd, Matthews, NC 28105-6673   Phone: 704.321.1711   Fax: 704.321.1714