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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Students, staff and community members gathered at Worthington Elementary School to dedicate a memorial to a former teacher.
The school unveiled a memorial bench bearing the likeness of Suzanne Anderson, a teacher who worked at Worthington for 25 years, most recently as a kindergarten teacher. Anderson died suddenly last year, and both students and staff said her absence has been keenly felt.
Worthington Elementary School Principal Tom Wheeler said there was "an outpouring of support" from the community, which allowed the school to erect a memorial bench outside Anderson's former classroom. On the bench is the phrase "She made a difference in the lives she touched."
Several students spoke during the dedication ceremony, saying they would always remember Anderson's smiles, her encouraging words and the way she cared for her students.
Joe Oliverio, who worked with Anderson for seven years while he was principal at Worthington and who is now the head of RESA 5, said during particularly tough days at the school he would walk down to Anderson's classroom.
"All of a sudden, the world would become a better place," he said.
Oliverio said while Anderson was missed, the May 14 memorial dedication was "a day of celebration.
"This is to celebrate a wonderful life," he said.
Donna Gault, a close relative of Anderson, said she and family members were touched by the memorial.
"It's a miraculous way to illustrate her love of teaching," Gault said. "She was completely dedicated to her school and to her students."
Information from: News and Sentinel (Parkersburg, W.Va.), http://www.newsandsentinel.com