By Paige Lambert
Eleanor Higdon will always be remembered as the unique eight-year-old who was just as vibrant as her red hair.
Even a month after her passing, Higdon continues to leave a legacy and inspire those who knew her and heard of her.
Eleanor Higdon, of Buda, passed away at Dell Children’s Medical Center on Dec. 12 after a tragic horse riding accident.
Tim Robinson, Buda Elementary School principal, said in many ways, Eleanor wasn’t your typical eight-year-old. Since her mother Sarah Higdon is an art teacher at the school, Eleanor would spend afternoons playing around the campus.
“I could tell many stories about how her crazy cowboy boots and socks would come flying off,” Robinson said. “She’s very close to all of us in the front office because we spent a lot of time with her.”
Higdon was at the school from pre-kindergarten to third grade. She loved being outdoors, sewing and being in the choir, he said.
Robinson said she lived up to her red hair; Higdon told people what she thought and was very authentic for a child.
“Just thinking of the person she was and the life she led at even such a young age, I think her impact was just that,” Robinson said. “That it’s ok to be yourself no matter whatever that is.”
Beyond her spunky attitude and authenticity, Higdon had a mind that was always whirling and creating.
With an art teacher for a mom and her father, Aaron Higdon, teaching STEM classes at Dahlstrom Middle School, Eleanor had a very unique home.
“Lots of engineering and crafting going on at home so for a third grader I think she was well above average for a third grader as far as her skill set,” Robinson said. “She was a very active girl.”
As a result of her making a mark on so many people, the whole community reached out and wanted to help, he said. Robinson talked with her parents and set up a fund to alleviate some of the medical bills.
Roughly $7,750 was raised in a little over a week. He said the family only requested enough to take care of the main financial burden and plans to donate the rest to the hospital.
“It’s a tragic loss in of itself and that’s bad enough and to come home and start getting medical bills on top of everything is not fun for anyone,” Robinson said. “We figured that was one way we would help and relieve that burden.”
Eleanor’s friends have also looked at ways to help and memorialize her. School employee Sylvia Coffey said a group of fifth graders plan to have a memorial garden finished by May.
They plan to plant strawberries, her favorite fruit, and some of her favorite flowers.
“We are looking at making a xeriscape and waiting to see what is already planted there,” said Coffey, who is also coordinating the group. “We are also thinking of putting stepping stones that spell her name.”
Robinson said a mural or piece of art may be put in the garden later on.
The school nurses and the garden club will maintain the memorial, but many of the fifth graders who were impacted by Higdon plan to come back and help, Coffey said.
“The fact that these kids want to come back says a lot about Eleanor,” she said.
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