In tragedy, NAES teacher remembered

By Mark Carpenter

People’s Defender

In another time of tragedy, the Adams County community has stepped forward to honor one lost way too soon. North Adams Elementary teacher Melissa Williams suddenly passed away on July 17 and as a testimony to her, friends and colleagues began a collection of backpacks filled with school supplies (pictured above) that will be distributed to school children in Melissa’s honor (Melissa’s Mission). To date, over 600 backpacks have been collected.

Williams began her career as as kindergarten teacher at West Union before moving to North Adams, where she was able to work in the same district with her mother Jane and her brother Tony. Before her untimely death, Melissa was scheduled this year to move tothird grade at NAES, teaching right across the hall from her mother.

“Passionate, loving, enthusiastic, hard-working… all be used to describe what type of person Melissa was,” said NAES Assistant Principal Kyle Brewer. “I had the privilege of watching her the past few years in the classroom and got to see firsthand just how impactful she really was. Often times during the school day, you would find Melissa sitting on her carpet working with students, encouraging them to extend their thinking. When students thought they couldn’t do something, Melissa was there to prove them wrong.”

“I feel like her impact on students and the community can be seen by the number of backpacks that have been donated for Melissa’s Mission. She made sure that no student ever went without and I am sure she has been smiling down from Heaven seeing how many students will benefit from this awesome tribute to her.”

For those who might still want to make a donation or donate a backpack with supplies, you can do that in the NAES office after it reopens on Aug. 1.

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Over 600 backpacks of supplies collected in memory of Melissa Williams