Clarke Street School prepares for class without Sierra Guyton
MILWAUKEE - A new school year is set to begin at Clarke Street School in Milwaukee. But the memory of one student will not be forgotten.
Sierra Guyton was shot on the school's playground last May and died over the summer.
The sign outside the playground reads: "Be The Change." The principal at Clarke Street School believes Sierra's name has already been the catalyst for change.
"I remember Sierra singing our school song," said Principal Daryl Burns.
He was put to the ultimate test during his first year as principal when 10-year-old Sierra was shot on the playground after school.
"Those days were pretty challenging for all of the students and staff," said Burns.
His message to students then, will be the same when they return after Labor Day.
"I wanted them to know the school is a safe place," said Burns. "The playground is a safe place and they should feel comfortable and know they can come here and learn."
Burns knows some of his young students are battled tested when it comes to violence. He survived it himself growing up in one of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods.
His experience and passion for education have him in the right place at the right time.
"It keeps me grounded to some of the situations my students are going through," said Burns. "I've lived through it."
His hope now is to get his students through what happened here so they feel safe on the playground; "Run around, get some exercise and be a kid."
A safe in the classroom.
"What Sierra and her family want us to do is to keep her in our memories," said Burns,"but also move on with the education."