Medina Journal-Register — Rachel Miller left her mark at Rainbow Preschool, and Thursday night her colleagues and family were on hand to make that mark permanent.
The Socio-Dramatic Play Center was dedicated in Miller’s memory thanks in part to the efforts of her fellow Rainbow employees, according to Darlene Golson, Community Relations Manager of the Arc of Orleans County.
“They wanted to do something special for Rachel and her family,” Golson said. “Part of her job was working on speech therapy through play, and this room was a big part of that.”
Miller, a 15-year employee at Rainbow Preschool, left her coworkers with many fond memories.
“I remember the way she would interact with the children,” said Linda Dressler, who served as Miller’s supervisor. “She was all play. Even though they were working on speech, listening to the children talk to her I’d smile to myself because they’d tell her anything. They were so comfortable with her.”
Dressler said Miller had a gift for helping children find their voices. “She could talk to a nonverbal child and have a conversation; she could really engage the children,” Dressler said. “Rachel was really special that way in that she would have a conversation with the children instead of giving orders.”
The specific room to be named for Miller is very appropriate, Dressler added.
“That’s what she was all about — arts and music,” Dressler said. “Dramatic play was close to her heart. She’d love this.”
Kerri Griffin, a fellow speech therapist who started at Rainbow Preschool a month after Miller, recalled her jovial friend as a person who “knew how to have a good time.”
She stated, “Rachel was so much fun, and she had the best laugh. It’s one of the things everyone remembers because it could bring a smile to everyone’s face.”
Griffin echoed Dressler’s comment about how Miller would likely feel about a room named for her.
“I think she would be very honored, but also very humbled,” Griffin said. “I think this is a wonderful thing for us to be doing and I know her family is excited, too.”
According to Dressler, community response to the room dedication has been quite supportive, and there have been several donations to the room already.
The Socio-Dramatic Play Center, Griffin explained, is a large “creative playroom” that allows children to learn to interact with one another. Griffin said both she and Miller felt such a place was as important to early education as academics.
Overall, Griffin said the dedication of the room is a “nice honor” for Miller, and a fitting tribute to a “fun person.”
She said, “Everything she did with the kids was fun. She really made a mark.”Editors note: Rachel Miller's death in March led to a second-degree murder charge for her housemate, Frederick C. Miller. Miller is due in Orleans County Court Monday for a pre-trial conference.