Remembering Codi - through books, animals

Published: February 6, 2004

Codi's classmates at Cummings Elementary School. 


Of the Keizertimes

A memorial can be a touchy thing. Too big, it can seem gaudy and irreverent. Too small, it risks being insufficient.

Char Sachjten, principal of Cummings Elementary School, appears to have found a memorial just the right size for Codi Frazier - a small person small who made a big mark on her community.

Codi died last September at age 11 after a difficult battle with cancer. In her last year, she captured the hearts of the school community, as well as civic leaders, for her composure in the face of her disease.

"Codi made such an impression on the lives of everyone at Cummings," said Sachtjen.

That's why the idea for Codi's Corner, a special section of the Cummings school library, took a while to take shape.

"We talked about several ways to commemorate her time at Cummings, but the idea for Codi's corner didn't strike till the Keizer Rotary Club presented me with a book in honor of Codi," Sachtjen said. "When that happened, I thought to myself, 'I think we've got it."

The book donated by the Rotary Club is titled "Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog's Tale." It tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition through the eyes of a dog that took the journey with them.

Codi checked out the book "White Fang" from the school library so often that the librarian gave her a copy to take home.

"I think she he was basically sleeping with the book," said Sachtjen.

Codi's love of animals and books made Codi's Corner the natural choice for a memorial once the seed had been planted.

The memorial is off to a strong start. Mary Oberst, wife of Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, has already donated several books to the cause.

The Kulongoskis became personal friends of Codi. She was allowed to celebrate her birthday with a sleepover in the governor's mansion, and the governor himself, without publicity or photo ops, visited Codi while she was in Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

"We would like donations to focus on science and animals, two of Codi's favorite subjects," said Sachtjen. "We'll take any kind of book, but we want to concentrate on those."

Cash donations and gift certificates to book stores are also welcomed.

Books donated to Codi's Corner will be marked with a special nameplate that has Codi's picture and a space for the donating party's name.

Organizers of the memorial are hoping to set up the corner with a horse or Western theme, and are seeking a themed lamp, area rug, desk and rocking chair as well.

The school also has a mirror with tiles around it created by Codi's classmates that Sachtjen would like to see incorporated into the corner.

"We want it to be a cozy place where kids can go to escape," said Sachtjen.

Donations can be made directly to the library at Cummings Elementary School, 613 Cumming Lane N., in Keizer.