AMAZING: Grieving Teen’s School Test Interrupted – Finds Out She’s Going to See Harry Styles
I'm a radio personality. When people ask me what the best part of my job is, I tell them about times like this.
I've been on-air at 94.3 the Point at the Jersey Shore for 10 years and there have been many very special moments. This is one I'll never forget.
I received this email from Mrs. Lang, a science teacher at Wall Intermediate School.
Hello there Matt,
I have the Point app and see that you are running a contest to see Harry Styles on the Today Show. This is why I am reaching out to you. I am a teacher at Wall Intermediate School and we have a sixth-grader that tragically lost her mom this past week. Ironically, the day after you announced this amazing opportunity to see Harry Styles on the Today show, Tessa had to say goodbye to her mom. Everyone that knows Tessa knows that she is the biggest Harry Styles fan there is, dating back to when she was a toddler and Harry was a part of One Direction.
I will enter it on behalf of her because it would be an amazing distraction for a young girl that could really use it.
Thanks for listening,
I also received a similar email from Laura's daughter Lily.
Tessa's mother, Karen Jankowski, a lifetime Monmouth County resident passed away suddenly on February 3. She was only 48. Karen's husband John told me of her giving spirit and selflessness. Others told me how this mother of three had an infectious laugh and the ability to bring anyone to hysterics. Karen was full of life. While I never had the honor to meet her, it's clear she was a special person.
This past Valentine's Day, I went to Wall Intermediate to meet Tessa and her family, and tried to -- as Mrs. Lang put it -- give her a distraction. I spoke to Harry Styles' camp, and we were able to cook up a little surprise. There was a catch though. Tessa's family and the faculty wanted me to deliver the news ... in the middle of her science class.
I didn't know that someone was recording when I interrupted a test -- true story. If I seem a little monotone or subdued, it's because I was, quite frankly, nervous. I hurt for this sixth grader who had said goodbye to her mother just days prior. If you've lost a parent, you know it hurts tremendously. I can't even imagine having to go through a loss at such a young age. Here's what happened.
Thank you to Laura Lang and her daughter, Lily. Without them reaching out, this never would have happened. Thanks also to Tessa's father John, her sister Julia, and her entire family along with the many friends who were there for this special moment.
Last, but not least, thank you to the amazing faculty and staff at Wall Intermediate. After just a short visit, I walked out of the school knowing that Tessa would have all of the support and resources she needed to get through this tough time.
Remember to celebrate love, never forget to hug those close to you as much as you can tell them you love them. You never know when your last encounter will be.