Introduction by Zander's second grade teacher, Andi Woosit:
Zander was so much to so many.
Perceptive. Generous. Kind. So passionate. So animated. So electric. An incomparable bundle of energy, talent, creativity and intellect who touched us all in such profound ways. Zander was one-of-a-kind.
He was driven by a singular curiosity about the way things worked, about life, and about people.
Archived in our minds are the indelible images of Zander... his contagious smile, his piercing blue eyes. Watching him dance... so whimsical. Watching him read (and Zander could read for hours anywhere - anytime)... Watching him think, eyes lost in space, tuning everything out while his mind unraveled the complexities of some algorithm or subway line...
Above all, Zander understood and appreciated where he came from and what he had in his life. He had a strong sense of gratitude and truly saw the miracles in his young life. How lucky he was to have a family that gave him a place to be himself.
Zander, who had just started third grade at P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill, wrote this poem in first grade. It shares and celebrates, from his own mind, who he was and the influences that shaped his "one of-a-kind" identity.
There's No One Like Me
by Zander Toulouse
Nobody's like me
For all my special reasons
For example: A board game
To me there is nothing like a nice board game.
I always like my bath water hot.
I always like trains.
I LOVE to dance a lot.
Blue is my favorite color.
I am the pride of the world.
I know I can be a problem.
But I am very useful sometimes.
“A Thread” by Tina Manis (Armen’s Mom)
Some believe that a thread connects us all
The thread is continuous; sometimes thick, sometimes thin but never broken.
Some of the thread is made from what we give others and some is made by what others give us.
All of our lives are better for what Zander gave; he passed it to our children and they passed it to us.
Our children gave to him and he gave to you; we are all connected, we are all a community and that is the thread that holds us all together.
We will always be here, so will you and so will Zander, in our hearts and minds.
Sent by Audra Tsanos (music teacher)
Each of us is here to discover our true Self...
that essentially we are spiritual beings
who have taken manifestation in physical form...
that we're not human beings that have occasional spiritual experiences
that we're spiritual beings that have occasional human experiences.
“Perfection Wasted” by John Updike
Sent by Cantor Avery Tracht
And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market --
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
their response and your performance twinned.
The jokes over the phone. The memories
packed in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
Who will do it again? That's it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren't the same.
“On My First Son” by Ben Jonson
Sent by Michelle Hopson (Fordham 08)
Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay.
Exacted by the fate, on the just day.
Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace, and ask'd, say, "Here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry."
For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such,
As what he loves may never like too much.
Sent by the Doogan family
Those who share their laughter
and their smile with everyone,
And who help others feel a sense of their
Are God’s own special angels, who
may pass this way but once,
But who make a difference
here on earth.
sent by Angela Pantelios (Fordham 08)
I know for sure that we never lose the
people we love, even to death. They continue
to participate in every act, thought and
decision we make. Their loves leaves an
indelible print on our memories. We find
comfort in knowing that our lives have
been enriched by having shared their love.