The hallways of BHS are usually a bustling place. The patter of sneakers pounding away on carpeted floors, the hustle of students zig-zagging through crowds, the low hum of conversations--these were all part of the sights and sounds that filled the halls in any pre-pandemic school year. And among those sights and sounds was Delia Ford. Whether she was encouraging any one of her students to make sure they had their books or to hustle along to class, Delia was always there, a fixture in the lives of her students. It can easily be said that Delia was a big reason they felt a sense of belonging and care at BHS.
“My mother's job was a huge part of her life. She had a passion for being a paraeducator. She loved the staff and her students so much,” said Isabella Ford, Delia’s daughter.
As a paraeducator, helping students with special needs is a job that calls for a special person, someone passionate about their work. Perhaps no one knows how much Delia thought of her students quite like her daughter. It was commonplace for Delia to come home after a long day and ramble on about her students and colleagues.
“She loved the staff and her students so much. She would often go on and on about how great her workday was because of them,” Isabella said.
Delia’s care and compassion was evident to all who came to know her. Her presence was often felt in the choir room where she would engage in the day’s discussion.
“Delia would frequently add her own perspective when we were discussing emotion behind a piece of music or personal connections to the music. She was a genuine and kind hearted person who never showed when she was having a bad day,” said Andrea Cooper, vocal music teacher.
Delia loved helping students with internships and work experiences; she loved being a part of clubs like Bett Singers and Best Buddies.
“She was always willing to lend a hand. She always wanted the focus to be on her students’ accomplishments,” said Jason Hamann, special education teacher. Wherever there was a student with special needs, Delia was close by. She loved her job, and it was clear that it was because of her students, Hamann said.
But it wasn’t just her “kids” at school that Delia cared for; it was the love for her own children that perhaps sums up who Delia was better than anything else.
“It’s hard to sum my mother up into words. She was an incredible woman who loved God, her kids, her family, her friends, and her job. My mom was an incredible mother. The thing she was most proud of in life was my brother and I. There isn’t a moment in my mind where she wasn’t there, right by our sides, supporting us. She taught me to put the important things in life first,” Isabella said.
Although it may be difficult to sum up a life in any number of words, it’s obvious that teacher and mother are two that will forever be connected to Delia.
The hallways of BHS are a little emptier and quieter now with Delia’s passing. But for those who knew her, it’s evident that their lives were much more full because of it.