This is the saddest thing that has happened during my nearly 17 years of full-time teaching.
This morning I learned that one of my students, Joshua Discuillo, died as the result of an automobile accident that occurred on Sat Feb 14th, 2009. The series of events that led to his death began when he was rear-ended while travelling on I-15, in snowy conditions, south of Layton, UT. He and the other driver pulled to the side of the road and left their vehicles in order to talk to each other and to inspect the damage to their vehicles. A third vehicle then lost control and slid into the first two, pinning Josh between that car and those that had already stopped.
Josh was a member of one of my Science Foundations (FDSCI 101) classes. He sat up front, was always there on time, and was prepared and willing to participate in class meetings. He had (and certainly still has) a quick smile and great attitude about learning. In some ways I'm a little envious of him because he gets to start asking and gaining answers to those great questions that we've spent time raising and discussing in class. Perhaps when I make it to the other side he will be one of my teachers! I wouldn't be a bit surprised! I thoroughly enjoyed having Josh in class and will miss him greatly. Josh completed a 2-year, full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in August 2008. He served in the Chile Rancagua Mission. His decision to serve a mission together with his honorable return speak volumes about the quality of this fine young man.
This experience brings a thought to mind. In the summer of 2005, Dr. Grant Davis, the father of one of my son's friends, died unexpectedly in a glider accident. One of the people that spoke at his funeral on 8 Aug 2005 was Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of 12 Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In that talk Elder Scott stated the following, “No righteous man is ever taken before his time.” Elder Scott went on to teach those in attendance (I was there) that his statement was not just a nice sentiment, but that it was a true doctrine.
From all indications Josh was a righteous man, and according to Elder Scott would not have been taken before his time. Josh will nevertheless be missed. It is perhaps our challenge to set aside questions about events like this, and be patient, believing that we will understand all things when the time is right, whether that time is in this life or in the next.