ROY — Roy Junior High School students were somber and respectful, and some shed tears as they honored one of their own Monday evening. Students paid tribute to former custodian Scott Fairbourn, who lost his battle with liver cancer Aug. 30.
Fairbourn was a popular face at the school, and students watched as he worked through his cancer fight that began in 2010.
The staff and students wanted to honor him in their own way. They decided to plant a tree and fly a special flag in Fairbourn’s honor.
The student body officers raised a 12-foot-by-18-foot flag as the cheerleaders and football team members knelt or stood at attention.
“There is a lot of symbolism here today,” said Principal Corey Jenkins.
The school flies an unusually large flag, and some days it was difficult for Fairbourn to hang the flag on his own as he became more ill. But he always did it without complaint, so it was significant for all the student body officers to join together to raise the flag in his honor. The old flag that was a bit tattered was laid to rest after Fairbourn died. Roy High School teacher Kenny Hokinson made a special holder for the flag and the flag was given to Fairbourn’s family just before his funeral. The new flag is dedicated to him.
Student Body President Kadin Smith shared some memories. He remembered seeing Fairbourn at school with a mask on, still working hard.
“He always put other people before himself. He always served others. I’m glad we have this tree, because his legacy will always live on,” Smith said as he motioned toward the newly planted autumn blaze maple near the school’s marquee.
Jenkins said the tree had been in the school office for the past week, and as students walked by, they placed small gifts, money, cards and thoughts about Fairbourn around it through the week.
Jenkins and the students presented those things to Fairbourn’s wife, Susan, and his family.
Through tears she said, “Thank you,” as many students wiped tears.
Jenkins said Fairbourn was open with the staff and students as he struggled through his illness. He was given a prognosis of living only about six months, and he was able to have about two years. During that time, the students followed him and his example, Jenkins said.
When Fairbourn was first diagnosed, the community came together and held a large fundraiser, collecting $18,000 for Fairbourn. Jenkins has been impressed with the way his student body and the community rose up to help someone who was dear to them.
Boyd Harris, the custodian supervisor for Weber School District, reminded students of Fairbourn’s often-heard phrase, “What can I do for you?” and encouraged them to follow in those footsteps. He said:
“Please remember to be kind to each other and help each other. Do the very best you can with the time you have left.”