Sevier Middle teacher passes away after a fight with brain cancer

MISSED AT SEVIER. After a struggle with brain cancer, former Sevier teacher Rosemary Smith
passed away on August 7, 2016.

Scribe Photo/ALEX STRIBLING (2010)

MISSED AT SEVIER. After a struggle with brain cancer, former Sevier teacher Rosemary Smith passed away on August 7, 2016.

Molly Turner, Co-Editor in Chief

After a long struggle, John Sevier Middle School teacher Rosemary Smith passed away from glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Smith died on August 7th, 2016 after almost two years battling cancer.

Smith was a teacher for 27 years. She taught at Rock Springs Elementary School and John Sevier Middle School. In college, she was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma. She had a husband named Chad, and two daughters named Molly and Abby.

The death of Smith hit Sevier students hard.

“When I heard she passed away I felt very, very sad,” Isabella Van der Biest, an 8th grade student at Sevier, said.

“I was shocked at first, and then I sort of just felt empty, like something in my heart had gone missing,” Valerie Fung said. Fung is a former Sevier Middle student who now attends Dobyns-Bennett High School.

This loss also hit Sevier teachers hard.

“When we attended the service for her on the following Saturday, it really hit me hard,” Tony Weaver, a 6th grade teacher at Sevier, said. “Mrs. Smith had been sick for over a year and we knew the prognosis was not good; however, she was still with us. During the service it hit me she was not here anymore.”

Sevier’s students and teachers agree that Smith had a big impact on the school.

“She made Sevier a happier place,” Che Nunez said. Nunez is an 8th grade student at Sevier Middle.

“I think Mrs. Smith impacted not only her students but also the other teachers and staff at Sevier,” Lisa King, a 6th grade teacher at Sevier, said. “She genuinely cared about everyone and would make you feel so special when she spoke to you. Mrs. Smith absolutely changed lives here at Sevier by making everyone around her feel known, cared for and loved.”

The students who had Smith miss how much fun they had in her class.

“I’d just like to thank her for being one of my favorite teachers and teaching me a lot about life.” Fung said.

“She was funny, caring and a good teacher,” Van der Biest said.

The teachers who worked with Smith learned a lot from the way she taught her students.

“Mrs. Smith will always be a part of how I teach and how I treat my students,” Weaver said.

Smith impacted the people that she worked with greatly, not only through her teaching, but also by just being a great friend.

“Mrs. Smith was always making her students and fellow teachers feel important,” Weaver said. “You did not mess with the people she loved.”

Smith’s co-workers, including King, have many special memories of Smith.

“She had a lizard as a classroom pet that she had to feed live crickets,” King said. “Mrs. Kilgore, another sixth grade science teacher at Sevier, hates crickets. Several crickets died and Mrs. Smith could not use them for the lizard, so instead of throwing them away she went into Mrs. Kilgore’s room after school and placed the dead crickets on Mrs. Kilgore’s computer keyboard. Mrs. Kilgore freaked out in the morning and Mrs. Smith just laughed and laughed.”

Weaver also has many fond memories of her.

“Mrs. Smith was like having my wife at Sevier.” Weaver said. “She told me what to do, she ate off my plate at lunch, and she would always tell us all ‘Love ya, mean it’ and she did.”

Weaver and King each had their favorite things about Smith as a person.

“Mrs. Smith loved to laugh,” King said. “No matter what you were doing you would always have a good time if you were with her.”

Weaver agrees.

“I loved her joy of teaching, her sense of humor, the love she had for her family and the way she made everybody feel when they were in her presence,” Weaver said.

Smith cared for each one of her students and co-workers. She worked hard every day to make sure that they knew that she loved them.

“I think she leaves behind a legacy on the sixth grade hall of unconditional love for her students,” Weaver said.

“She was bright, and nice to everyone,” Caroline Gilbert, an 8th grade student at Sevier, said.

Smith had a big heart, and shared it with everyone she could.

“Mrs. Smith did many things for her students and did not want any recognition for what she did,” Weaver said. “She wanted these acts of kindness to be anonymous. She did not know I was watching her, but I was.”

King feels that Smith never gave up, even during the worst days of her cancer.

“Mrs. Smith fought cancer as hard as she could,” King said. “She believed so strongly in God and relied on his support so much before she was sick and after getting sick. Mrs. Smith would want people to know that God is good and that he loves you.”

Smith left a big legacy at Sevier, and even though she is gone, Weaver is certain she will not be forgotten.

“She will never again walk down our halls at Sevier, but I assure you, she will always be here,” he said.

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