Bright colors and fluffy tutus dotted the hallways of Spokane Public Montessori for a very special “Tutu Twosday” this week.
For the past few years, students and families have brought fancy clothes for the Kid and Teen Closet, an organization that provides new and gently used clothing to children in need.
The donation drive started to honor two Montessori students, Madilyn and Molly Baroni, who died in a car crash in 2015. The girls’ mother, Meghan Baroni, was the school’s nurse.
Their deaths “rocked our world,” said Principal Shannon Lawson.
The girls were riding with their father, Mathew-Michael Baroni, 33, a contractor with The Spokesman-Review, while he delivered copies of the Saturday paper. Ryan J. Turner, 27, was driving the wrong way and hit the Baronis’ vehicle head-on, killing all three. Turner later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
After the deaths, staff at the school started talking about how to honor the Baroni girls’ spirit.
“The lasting memory for us is that these little girls loved fancy dresses and they loved to twirl on the playground,” Lawson said.
So they started “Tutu Tuesday”, picking a Tuesday that has a two in the date and hold the clothing drive each year. But this year, the drive is extra special.
Held on 2/22/22, the date has lots of meaning for students, Lawson said.
“This year of course it’s super special,” she said.
From left, Amelia Prime, Henry Beu, Emmarie Mauk, Eli Cox and Kylie Aoyagi stand with some of the clothing donated for Kid and Teen Closet Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 at Spokane Public Montessori school in Spokane, Washington. Kids at the school were asked to dress up, with girls wearing tutus, and make donations to Kid and Teen Closet to honor Madilyn and Molly Baroni, Montessori students who died in a car crash with their dad in 2015. (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Students and staff wear tutus or fancy clothes, something that brings delight to their students, Lawson said. Two young boys donned bow ties, while another student matched her tutu to a Spokane Public Montessori baseball T-shirt.
This fun day is also a great way to remember Madilyn and Molly Baroni’s contagious joy in dressing up and delighting in a simple spin, Lawson said.
“It’s a way to keep their spirit alive,” she said.
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