Our daughter Claire was in the fourth grade in 2000 and in October of that year, she was
diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor. Claire died just before the end of the school year on May 2, 2001. It was the day of the school mass just as it is today. The Claire Renee Goudeau Memorial Scholarship was established to honor Claire’s memory by dedicating funds for scholarships to St. Jean Vianney Catholic School. We are thankful to have the prayers and support of the SJV community. You have and continue to bless our lives in so many ways.
From time to time we ask for some help with our presentations. Today we are very fortunate to have one of Claire’s friends from her 4th grade year. We met Dustin Wray when we were looking for a new home for her gerbil Skip. After going through the entire 4th grade grade-class lists, Claire settled on Dustin. We’re not really sure why he was chosen, except that no other family suited her. She had a way of knowing what someone might need so perhaps, Dustin needed this. We are truly grateful he said, “yes” and took Skip into his care. Dustin went on to graduate from Zachary High, then onto Southeastern where he received his Bachelors in Kinesiology. He is a territory sales rep for Pyramid Food Brokers. He’s been married for 6 years to his lovely wife Olivia. They have 2 children and Dustin enjoys just hanging out with them and his friends.
Please welcome Dustin Wray.
When I think back on my time spent with Claire, one word comes to mind: change. It was my first year here at St. Jean Vianney, and as a fourth grader, it’s a very scary time to change schools and make new friends. I remember having such anxiety and so many questions about this change, even at an early age. Will I fit in? Will others be kind to me? Will I do well in school? That one was actually answered quickly with “absolutely not”. But with all of this uncertainty, I was very nervous about the future. But little by little, I started meeting more people and gaining friendships, and of them was Claire.
I’ll never forget my first interaction with Claire. It was lunch time, and me at the time not having made any friends yet, was sitting alone. Then a few of my female classmates came and sat nearby and started telling a story. One of them said something to me and I guess out of shock I said, “Jesus!”. As we all know, never take the Lord’s name in vain and Claire kindly made sure I knew that. Claire leaned in close and said, “Just so you know, that’s like saying a curse word around here.” I told her, “Thank you for letting me know”. After breaking the ice in such poor fashion, I remember I actually began to make friendships soon after that. Then as the school year went on, we learned of Claire’s illness. Although at such a young age I didn’t quite grasp the magnitude of it, I still understood that something was very wrong. Then as Claire’s appearance began to change because of her medicine, and her visits at school being less and less, it began to really dawn on us as a class that Claire was very sick. Throughout this time, watching Claire’s experience really brought into perspective how small my worries were in comparison to hers, and I remember to this day how she handled it with such grace. She still showed up to school smiling and joyful, simply living in the moment. She was still the sweet, kind person she always was before. Now as an adult with more perspective of what was going on, it brings awareness and such appreciation to Claire’s childlike faith.
I’ll never forget the day we learned of Claire’s passing. The sun was nowhere in sight, and neither was she. But as the days and weeks passed, it became clear even to us as children, that although Claire isn’t with us here anymore, she will always be with us. Claire’s kindness to me, the new student, is something I will never forget. Claire had every reason to come to school upset, but she chose kindness anyway. I will also never forget her calm and kind nature especially during such pain. Claire taught us all that life is so precious. As I said in the beginning, the word that describes my time with Claire is “change”. While my life was going through temporary changes, little did I know my life was changing for my entire lifetime after meeting Claire. It is with this experience that my wife and I wanted to make sure Claire’s memory lived on, and so my daughters full name is Rena Claire Wray. It is these traits I have described that I hope the recipients of this award carry on. Carry on Claire’s nature of being kind, being welcoming to new people, and having faith during the unknown.
Patty Miremont who is a member of our Board of Directors will continue the presentation.
We award the scholarship based on personal characteristics including love of school, love of others, and commitment to excellence in school and personal life, doing what you have to do even when you don’t feel like it and doing it the best you are able.
We thank the principal Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Robinson, the 4th grade teachers, Ms Calix and Ms. Stafford for their support and Fr. Tom for his spiritual guidance. Our board of directors went through a process of prayerful consideration for the final selections and found the selection process difficult when presented with the high level of candidates here at St. Jean Vianney.
This year each recipient will receive the following:
The 1st Scholarship goes to
The 2nd Scholarship goes to
The 3rd Scholarship goes to
NOTE: If you'd like to view the presentation, you may go to this LINK and forward to about the 1 hour mark where we will be introduced.