A Message From The Alexander Dawson School

Dear Dawson Community,

The Alexander Dawson School is devastated to share the news that Dawson eighth-grade student Aumnie Halper, a vivacious, bright, and joyful member of our community, passed away on January 1, 2021. There are no words to express the deep grief and sadness our community is feeling, and there are no words of comfort that seem adequate. 

Aumnie has been at Dawson since kindergarten, and there are few on campus who have not experienced her infectious laughter, sense of humor, and lovely smile. She was an advocate, an outgoing community bridge-builder, performer, artist, and athlete. Her positive impact on our campus was palpable, and her passing leaves a void that cannot be filled.

In addition to supporting Aumnie’s family, our primary concern is to care for our students, families, faculty, and staff. We want you to know that when our students return to campus on Tuesday, January 5, we will have developmentally-appropriate opportunities for students to come together with trusted faculty and counselors to process their grief, support one another, and begin to heal. For the eighth-grade class, in particular, Tuesday will not be a normal school day; instead, the class will be together with their teachers to talk, share, and grieve. We will also have additional grief counselors on hand to help all of our students, faculty, and staff process their emotions.  

We know communicating a tragedy of this nature to children is difficult, and asking questions and seeking details is a natural response in their attempt to process. We recommend that you show caution in sharing details, but do allow your child to express themselves and share their fears and concerns. Most importantly, reassure them they are safe and loved. These are often the simplest yet most impactful ways to help children work through the confusion and fear a tragedy such as this brings to the surface. If you need additional support finding appropriate phrases and words to discuss this with your children, we highly recommend the following professional articles/resources:

Our strong sense of community will be a source of strength as we grieve this profound loss. We will continue to hold Aumnie’s mother, family, and friends in the light as they struggle with her untimely departure, and we will continue to hold each other as we all remember Aumnie’s beautiful spirit.

The Alexander Dawson School

The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student academics, wellbeing, and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners and leaders. At Dawson, students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.