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Nicolet Middle School Students Mourn Teacher Who Died Suddenly on Friday

Teacher Ronald Sample was 49 and he died suddenly of a massive heart attack on Friday, Banning Unified School District board member Veronica Histed said.

Nicolet Middle School students were mourning Monday for their teacher Ronald Sample, who died suddenly of a massive heart attack on Friday, an assistant principal and a Banning Unified School District board member said.

Sample was 49, Assistant Principal Theresa Castillo and Board of Trustees member Veronica Histed said. He died Friday morning, according to his wife Elizabeth, Histed said.

"He has two grown children," Castillo said. "He was a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He was a very bright man. He was a wonderful teacher. The kids adored him and the teachers enjoyed working with him. He was a kind man. He was a good man."

Grief counselors were at Nicolet Middle School on Monday, where teachers told students of Mr. Sample's death about 8 a.m. during first period in their classrooms, Histed said.

Children were making cards for Mr. Sample's family and writing letters to Mr. Sample himself, as part of the grieving process, Histed said. Students and school staff were also signing larger poster boards set up for them to convey their feelings, Histed said.

"I'd like to commend the principal for how he handled this," Histed said. "He gathered the teachers Friday afternoon, and they discussed how the news would be communicated to the children at school on Monday."

Principal Robert Meteau at Nicolet Middle could not immediately be reached for comment.

Grief counselors and psychologists will be at the school all day Monday, Histed and Castillo said. They have tables set up in the school library with paper for writing letters and construction paper for making cards.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

Janet Kloos March 19, 2012 at 08:15 PM
This is such sad news. I never met him but feel his passing is a great loss to our community.
ATC March 19, 2012 at 10:48 PM
All of our teachers are the unsung heroes...constantly asked to do more and more...with less and less. Godspeed.
Teacher March 20, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Ron Sample was a very kind and thoughtful teacher and person. He will be missed by many.
For The Kids March 20, 2012 at 03:03 AM
I met Ron when we were both young teachers. He had such a zest for life. He chased fun and if there wasn't any around, he made it and then shared it with everyone. His students adored him because he was such a kid at heart. But they also respected him for his humanity and compassion. He was an excellent role model for all of his students, but especially for his male African-Americqn kids. What a loss for the district. What a loss for us all.
Deborah Dukes March 20, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Ron was a great teacher and person. What a huge loss to the District and his students. Please keep his family, especially his wife of of less than two years in your prayers.

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