SouthLake Christian reflects on Aimee Powell, legacy more than a year after her death

“She was one of the biggest servants. She would do anything she could to help you whenever, for whatever ... Oh, and she loved to laugh. She had a very infectious laugh,” said Christy Robb, second-grade teacher at SouthLake Christian Academy, as she remembered friend Aimee Powell.

A little over a year ago, on Jan. 21, SouthLake lost a teacher, a friend and a missionary when Aimee was killed in a head-on collision after a truck crossed the center line on N.C. 73 during her daily morning commute to school. She was 26 years old.

As the school mourns for Aimee, we also believe that we have found the perfect way to pay her tribute. When our senior class travels to Peru, May 22-31, they will begin construction on classrooms that will be built as a memorial to her. The classroom project captures Aimee’s unique spirit, leaving a visible reminder of her love of teaching, missions and Peru.

Aimee loved teaching the fourth grade. She graduated from Columbia International University in South Carolinawhere she majored in elementary education. It had always been her childhood dream to teach.

Aimee also had a heart for missions. “Missions were a huge part of her life. She really had a desire for people in other cultures to know the gospel,” said Susan Smith, elementary school principal at SouthLake.

There she found her third love: Peru and its people. SouthLake’s tribute to Aimee combines these three loves: teaching, missions and Peru.

Aimee was the daughter of two missionary parents in Taiwan, where she spent most of her childhood. Her love for missions grew as she got older and led her to go to the annual trip to Peru in 2009 with other SouthLake teachers and students. “Aimee had such a passion for the gospel to reach the nations ... when we went to Peru, she fell in love with it,” Robb said.

“Aimee always wanted to do things well. She was always asking, ‘How can I do this well?’ or ‘How can I love people well? How can I do my job well?’ remembered Smith.

For Aimee, this meant coming home from the 2009 trip to Peru and learning Spanish so she could communicate with and evangelize to the Peruvian people in their own language. This building will be a way that she can continue to carry the gospel to the people of Peru. It will be multi-purpose and will include classrooms for special needs students, for older children who will receive technical training and GED preparation, and for local women who will learn skills in order to become self-supporting. It will be an ongoing testament to how she continues to do things well.

SouthLake has started raising the $57,000 needed for this project and will continue collecting funds through May 1. Aimee’s parents have generously given the balance of her estate to the Peru Memorial, and SouthLake families have donated as well.

When SouthLake travels to Peru in May, one of our staff members will lay the cornerstone to the school, and throughout the week the seniors will begin construction on the classrooms. A plaque will be placed in the building in honor of Aimee, to pay tribute to her life. Our hope and prayer for this memorial is that the local Peruvians and the people that visit this school will see God and His work through Aimee’s life, and through this they might be inspired to put their faith in Him.

“Aimee’s passions of sharing her faith and the education of others will live on through the lives of the Peruvian children that will be loved, nurtured and educated at the Kusi Center for many years to come,” said Phillip Horton, upper school principal.

Katie Schoenrock, author of this piece, is a junior at SouthLake Christian Academy. She is a guest writer from the school’s journalism class.