Lauren Monsell's fingertips grazed the cold gray bricks that were inlaid beneath the newly constructed patio outside Bayport-Blue Point High School memorializing her husband, Doug.
She read one of the engravings aloud.
“Beloved husband and father, we cherish the life you have given us,” read Lauren Monsell. “We love you always, your girls.”
That’s what Doug Monsell used to call his wife and their two daughters Jenna, 13, and Karli, 9, -- his girls.
Months after his death, the business teacher at Bayport-Blue Point High School, was memorialized in the unveiling of an outdoor patio on Oct. 5.
“I really think it helps my girls to be a part of all of this,” said Lauren Monsell. “It’s really amazing to be a part of this community.”
The engraved bricks, in memory of Monsell, were sold to help fund the project. A total of 216 bricks were sold, which now adorn the ground of the outside patio.
After covering the expenses of the project, there was an excess of $6,200, which was donated to Monsell’s children to fund their education.
“You hold these types of things in your heart,” said Lauren Monsell, of Bellport. “Every time I’m having a bad day I think of things like this.”
Chandler Varone, 17, of Bayport, had been working on the project for months, even before his teacher died.
The idea for the project came about last year when juniors lost the privilege to spend their lunch period off-campus. So Varone approached high school principal Dr. Timothy Hearney in hopes that he would reconsider the decision.
The compromise was an outdoor eating area that would be available to juniors and seniors during their off-period.
Varone made the patio his Eagle Scout Project — one of the necessary steps to become an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. His fellow Boy Scouts in Troop 329 supported Varone’s efforts and helped him throughout the project.
Varone had been discussing the concept with Doug Monsell. They were working on the logistics of the project together for a few months before Monsell had began to fall ill.
“I started seeing less and less of him,” said Varone, noticing the unusual absence of his teacher.
The paperwork began in February and the board of education approved the idea on May 1. Later that same month, Monsell died from liver disease at the age of 47.
“He should know that he was adored here by students and faculty,” said Hearney. “And he will be forever missed.”