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Banning Kindergarten Teacher Dies in Fight Against MDS

Central Elementary kindergarten teacher Ray Alcala had been diagnosed with with MDS, also known as smoldering leukemia, a disruption of the bone marrow.

Central Elementary School teacher Ray Alcala has died, after complications arose in his fight against MDS, Banning-Beaumont Patch has learned.

Alcala, who taught kindergarten at Central for five years but had to leave early last March for a bone marrow transplant, died Monday night at City of Hope hospital in Los Angeles, according to Central Elementary Principal Ed Young.

“The school community was still very involved in supporting him and his family,” Young said in a telephone interview Tuesday.  “We’re really going to miss him.”

Young said Alcala had gotten pneumonia on Thursday or Friday and “had more complications over the week.”

Alcala—fondly known by students as “Mr. A.”— was married to Sayra Alcala and had three children who all attend school in Banning: Celeste, 6, Ismael, 13, and Raymundo, 14.  They attend Central Elementary, Nicolet Middle and Banning High.  (Ages were last updated as of March)

Banning-Beaumont Patch spoke with Alcala in March, prior to his bone marrow transplant.

“Some days I do feel tired, but other days I do feel full of energy,” he said.  “Going to work helps a lot. Might sound cliché, but I need to be around my kiddies (students). They give me the energy and the will to fight this disease."

Principal Young said Alcala absolutely planned on heading back to the classroom, once he was cleared by his doctor—which everyone had hoped would be around Christmas time.

“His desire was absolutely to come back… he loved teaching; he was an excellent teacher,” Young said.  “His plan was to come back as soon as he was healthy enough.”

Funeral arrangements were pending as of Tuesday morning, but check back with Banning-Beaumont Patch for details as they become available.

Young said the school psychologist has been informed of Alcala's passing, to help children with any needed grief counseling. Students were not at campus Tuesday, as it was a teacher furlough day.

Debbie Bisel October 23, 2012 at 05:46 PM
A wonderful teacher, loved by so many. He will be missed. Please keep his family in your prayers.
Craig October 23, 2012 at 07:24 PM
R.I.P. Mr. A you will be missed! My kids go to Central Elementary and are saddened to hear of this. My thoughts & prayers go out to the Alcala family!
Alyssa Tacchia October 23, 2012 at 09:46 PM
So so very sad to hear this he was my daughters teacher at central and her teachers were rasing money for his family and had bracelets made with his name on it our thoughts and prayers go out to the Alcala family
Rossi Torres October 24, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Our deepest respect to his family and God may bless them.
Mariana Zuelsdorf October 24, 2012 at 12:50 AM
May God bless his family. I'm very sorry
Kathy Alcala October 24, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Ray can't believe you left us :( this has crushed our family we will miss you so much :(
Michelle St.Marie October 24, 2012 at 03:56 PM
R.I.P
Sandy Miller October 24, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Mr. A, I got to work with you for a short amount of time but, you were such a "Gentle Giant"! The kids adored you! We yard duties did too! Rest in peace! Sandy Miller <3
Jamie Murphy October 26, 2012 at 12:21 PM
SO VERY SORRY TO THE FAMILY FOR THE LOSS OF YOUR LOVED ONE....MAY GOD BLES YOU AND COMFORT ALL OF YOU DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME....AND I HOPE YOU FIND SOME COMFORT IN KNOWING THAT HE ISN'T SUFFERING ANYMORE AND IS IN THE LORD'S LOVING ARMS LOOKING DOWN ON ALL OF YOU NOW...GOD BLESS
James Kruk October 27, 2012 at 03:09 AM
I know Ray Mr. A as a colleague and friend. We were together as educators and had a great time (2008). He was always upbeat. We both soon met again in City of Hope with our fight against leukemia in Sept. 2012. What a gift to be able to reconnect with Ray. My thoughts and prayers to the family.

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