Marjie Atkins Track Memorial Unveiled at O’Leary Middle School
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Besides her family, Marjie Atkins had three loves in her life: her students, history, and running.
Atkins, who passed away last November, was honored by her close family, friends and colleagues with the unveiling of a memorial at the running track Thursday afternoon at O’Leary Middle School.
“This is incredible,” Scott Atkins, Marjie’s husband, said with tears in his eyes.
Rain, which had fallen earlier in the afternoon, had stopped in time for the unveiling.
Marjie was a history teacher and running coach at the school.
“She loved to run,” he said. “She’d run just about every day.”
Griselda Escobedo, a coworker and close friend, said Marjie had a personality that was always motivating and encouraging.
“She was my best friend and the only one who could motivate me to get up at 5 a.m. to run with her,” she said.
Marjie liked to run whenever and wherever she could. She enjoyed local races such as the Rim 2 Rim and Falls 2 Falls community events, running in her neighborhood, at Auger Falls or the South Hills.
“You name it and she’d figure out a way to run it,” Escobedo said. “She was always running.”
As important as running was to her, however, it took a backseat to her students.
“She was a phenomenal teacher,” said Lynn Harmison, the school’s attendance secretary and a close friend to Marjie. “She loved her students, she loved history. If Lewis and Clark were here today she’d jump on the boat. She loved teaching the kids.”
Friends stayed a while after the unveiling to visit with each other, some snapping photos by the memorial – which has a silhouette of Marjie standing atop a rock. It’s from a photo that was taken on an endurance workout in the South Hills, Escobedo said. Her arms are raised in Rocky style, like she had just outrun the world.
Raindrops began to fall intermittently again as the crowd began to disperse.
The crowds will gather again this fall, when a larger ceremony by the Twin Falls School District will be held at the school to officially rename the track in her honor.
Atkins said he was deeply touched by the outpouring of love from Marjie’s friends and fellow educators – “and she would be too,” he said.