Colleagues continuing teacher's legacy

Jennifer Longworth
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Teachers at a Greenwood school are carrying on a tradition started by a colleague killed in the south side explosion.

It's a way for teachers to deal with their grief while also helping to keep kids warm this winter and it was all started by beloved second grade teacher Jennifer Longworth, who died in the explosion in the Richmond Hill neighborhood November 10. When the school day ended, the teachers got to work - knitting.

"To think, how many hours would it take me to do the one, she had to start in the summer," said teacher Stefanie Cain.

Longworth taught at Southwest Elementary. Knitting was her passion and every winter, she made sure to take time to knit for her students.

Caroline Wise says her daughter Molly misses Longworth so much, she wears the scarf knitted by the teacher to bed.

"It shows how thoughtful she was. It's something they can take with them and they will always remember her by," Cain said.

To continue the warm tradition, her fellow teachers learned to crochet and knit.

"It's not a struggle. It's a way to kind of release some of our emotions and to be with co-workers. We've been through a lot emotionally in the past three weeks," said teacher Kenna Frink.

All 21 students in Longworth's class will still get a scarf and, this year, also a hat with a special patch to remember their beloved teacher, who loved the Indianapolis Colts.

"I think Jennifer would be pretty impressed that people are stretching themselves and learning something new for her," said Principal Beth Guilfoy.

The extra scarves and hats will be taken to Riley Hospital for Children.

"We are going to try to do this every year," Cain said. "'The Longworth Legacy.' We will call it that."

Southwest Elementary teachers also started a memorial award to honor Jennifer Longworth. The award will go to a graduating Greenwood High School senior who wants to work in the education field.

They have already raised $1,000 and there's another $1,000 pledge from the Colts.