Slice of Life: Celebrating Princess Lacey


My students and I have followed the story of Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth very closely. It started with me reading them a Bleacher Report article in early February. They were inspired by Adreian’s story and they fell in love with Lacey.


When Lacey joined Adreian for senior night I shared it with my students.

Iowa v Michigan State

A week later when Adriean and Lacey got a chance to cut down the nets in Indianapolis after Michigan State won the Big Ten title, I shared it with my students.


When my students and I got back from spring break I shared with them all the fun Lacey had traveling around the country sharing her story.



Unfortunately, shortly after we returned from spring break Lacey passed away. Sharing this news with my students was extremely difficult. They were heartbroken, I was heartbroken, we grieved together.

A few days after this video was published online.


The video brought more tears than I have ever seen in a classroom. My kids were so stinking sad. For a minute after sharing the video I wondered if the video was too sad to show my third graders. I like to think that we have a culture in our room that allows us to be able to have these types of moments.

I’m excited to go to school today. These last couple of months of the school year are my favorites. My students and I have grown so close that I feel like on any given day just about anything could be discussed.

I can’t wait to see where today takes us.

Updated-  4.22.2014 – 6:34 AM

Over the weekend one of my students went to East Lansing with her family to sign “The Rock” on the campus of Michigan State University.


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8 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Celebrating Princess Lacey

  1. Colby, I don’t watch much TV, especially commercial TV, nor do I read the papers, so I wasn’t aware of this bittersweet situation. I just watched the video and it is heartbreaking. I think it was good you were able to share this with your students. It’s not something they should be shielded from, but meant to know and learn from—to be impressed by—hopefully in a way that will have a positive impact for them for the rest of their lives.

    Thank you for sharing this with us oxox


  2. Thank you for sharing. It is very hard to know what to share with our third graders, but they are very aware of our feelings. Earlier this year I had to deal with horrible grief of the loss of a dear student that I had been close to the years after he left my room. When I picked up students that morning one said “You look so sad.” They shared in my grief. It somehow made it less unbearable.

    As teacher we teach so much. We love so much. We laugh so much. Most importantly, we learn so much.


  3. This is a powerful story that is meant to be shared. Hopefully, having the love in their hearts for Lacey will lead your students to look for love and not fear in their lives to come.


  4. Because you first shared this story, I too became a fan and began following the team and Lacey. I loved watching her in the stands and was so incredibly sad when shortly after she lost her life. As one who has gone through many situations in my life as an educator, I feel strongly in sharing with kids the realities of life. As a beginning teacher I felt embarrassed when I cried reading The Great Gilly Hopkins but soon grew to realize that it was important to share how the story touched me. Nearing the end of my career when I read (as the principal) to a group of 4th and 5th grade readers the story we all cried and celebrated the journey together. I commend you to inviting the real-life story of Adrian and Lacey into your classroom!


  5. Your students are blessed they had the opportunity to share sad feelings in a safe and supportive place. It seems so many in today’s world never learn how to deal with the tough stuff, and feelings run wild and are acted out in destructive ways. Your students are learning to empathize with others and express their own feelings, too. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Colby . What a great story and journey you and your students have gone through. This story of Lacey has hit me hard. The news of her passing was so heart breaking. I hate cancer so much. I reamber when Bree was diagnosed with her cancer. One morning I can remember kneeling in my closet begging and praying to God to not take my daughter. Fortunately for us that never did happen. That is why we continue to fight through Relay for Life. I pray all the time for Lacey and her family. Hopefully some day cancer will be defeated. But until that day we have people like you and many others to fight and move on. God Bless. And thank you for being a teacher and such a wonderful person.


  7. You are an amazing teacher who knows how to connect the events of the world with the students in his class. While we cannot shield them from all the pain and sadness of life, we can lead them to listen, learn, and care….a teacher’s mission.


  8. I learned of this story from you and learned of Lacey’s passing while running on the treadmill at the Y. My eyes started to well up and I had to focus on my steps so I wouldn’t just cry and fall off the treadmill. Stories have wonderful parts and sad parts. Lacey’s story has both and is real. So, much of our news is horrible and while her passing is sad, this story has more beauty and bravery your students needed to know. I think it’s wonderful you showed them the news can share touching stories that tug at our hearts and warm out hearts.


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