In Loving Memory: Luke Stempa 1994-2006

It was a two years ago today that my godson, Luke Stempa died.

Luke was a gift.

While I have few words to describe him right now, thanks to the tightening in my stomach and an overall sense of loss. After moving to De Pere, where Luke's family is, it is bittersweet. I wish he was here to share in Mario Kart races and Star Wars discussions. I know he would be excited about the lightsaber battling Star Wars: Clone Wars game and we could have logged hours in it together. But I am thankful to be closer to his family and continue to be a part of their lives... honoring those who are gone by loving those left behind.

Luke was and is an inspiration for me and my work on this site. Because of Luke's physical conditions he was limited in sports and other activities, but much of Luke's identity, and learning came through his life as a gamer. In gaming any physical struggles fell away and he was who he and those who loved him truly saw himself as; an intelligent, strategic, problem solver responding to multiple points of information and understanding it all. Whether helping others in Runescape or toying with the Dark and Light sides in KOTOR, he embodied what games could teach and how students could learn through them.

Here are posts about Luke and his continued influence in my life, one from a month after his death and another from this past spring. I know that he would love the work and discussions going on here.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family this day and everyday.

Luke, I love you and miss you. Thank you for the games we played, the lightsaber battles together, and the love we shared.

(Part of this post was first published last year on the anniversary of Luke's death. I will continue to post a reflection to Luke as a way to honor him, focus me on the educational aspects of games, and continue to work toward helping all students learn through video games and gaming strategies.)

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