SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – On Feb. 20, students, teachers, and parents of St. James Catholic School received a startling email from the school principal.

Ms. Barbara Golden, who spent 46 years teaching 6th-grade religion, grammar, writing and literature at St. James Catholic School, unexpectedly passed away at 71 years old.

(Photo provided by Catalina Garcia-Quick)

A week after hearing of Ms. Golden’s passing, Elena Quick, a 7th-grade student at St. James Catholic School began to sketch a photo of the beloved teacher. It eventually became Elena’s first-ever portrait.

“It didn’t matter if you were the most popular kid – or the most quiet – Ms. Golden truly SAW every student she taught,” said Elena.

In a portrait dedication, she wrote:

I was inspired to paint in an impressionistic style because of the impression Ms. Golden had on me, all my classmates, and every student she ever taught.  With each stroke, I hope you see the students that she taught here, the way she saw and inspired us.

Those who would like to see the portrait can do so on Fine Arts Night at St. Vincent’s Academy on Monday, March 6, from 6 to 7 p.m.

From there, the painting will be on display in the Saint James Catholic School library until the end of the 2023 school year, where it will join various works of student art and writings in honor of Ms. Barbara Golden.

At the end of the school year, the painting will be given to Ms. Golden’s son Will Martin as a gift to the family.