PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – 2nd-grade students at Bethel Lutheran School walked into their classroom Thursday morning, without their teacher.
“It was different… the atmosphere was different and they could tell that Miss K was not here,” said the principal at Bethel Lutheran in Morton, John Jacob.
A three-vehicle car crash took the life of 25-year-old Katherine King Tuesday night.
“We’ve met with parents the last couple times now over the last couple of days and somebody used the best word that her personality was just infectious,” said Jacob.
Jacob said students had the day off Wednesday.
“We didn’t have the second graders at school yesterday because we wanted to be very well prepared to take care of them when they came back,” said Jacob.
Thursday was the students’ first day back since the crash. Flowers and gifts in hand, students came together to remember their late teacher.
“One of the neatest things is all of the kids knew that Miss King just loved flamingos so a child brought in a flamingo that is now in the corner over there.”
With help from the community, Jacob said they were able to do just that.
“There were 3 dogs at our school today that came and visited the 2nd-grade classroom first and the kids just really loved that and they were around these dogs and it was a great way to start the day for them,” said Jacob.
There were also counselors available for the kids.
“There was just so many resources provided to us to help ease the transition back into the school it was a real blessing.”
When asked, how do you tell a 2nd grader that a very important person in their life will no longer be physically present, Jacob said… with the help of God.
“That’s the blessing of being a Christian school, it’s a situation that you have to deal with that death happens… people will not be here but the hope we have in Christianity is that we will be reunited in heaven and god loves and provides heaven for us,” said Jacob.