Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 KJV
Marie was full of life and loved to have fun. Her infectious smile would light up a room. She was generous and loving to her friends and family.
Marie was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25 while attending the USF. Marie endured surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation while completing her field experiences and student teaching. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in special Education from USF and earned the designation Learning & Behavior Specialist (LBS1) in 2007 at the age of 26. She began teaching in the fall of 2007 at Farragut Elementary School in Joliet, Illinois. About working at Farragut Elementary School during her treatments and the special staff who surrounded her she writes, “You can go through all the motions but if you don’t have the desire to be healed or the ability to keep a positive attitude and see the good in the experience then you will not get through it. It has been difficult to do this, I’m sure those of you who have had cancer or have known someone close to you with cancer can sympathize with me about this. At those times when you feel like you are drowning it is the people around you who throw you a line and help you back onto dry land. You have been those people for me. During the times when I have struggled to find the
strength to keep a positive attitude you have been there to lift me up. I have been asked many times, ‘Are you working right now?’ I have been told I should take time off and not wear myself out. But it is coming to work that actually gives me strength and gives me that push to keep going forward, knowing that there are staff members and students who depend on me each day as I depend on them.” Marie touched many young lives in her short time as a Special Education teacher. Marie lost her battle to cancer on June 22, 2009. According to a co-worker:
“Marie began her career as a teacher just a few years ago. She was very excited to have her own classroom and truly enjoyed being around children and teaching them every day. Marie especially looked forward to the beginning of the school year and everything it entailed; buying things for and preparing her classroom, meeting her students and most importantly, focusing on how she could reach each and every one of them. Marie also enjoyed holidays at school with her students. She would always find a creative activity to fit the season and of course, would love to provide treats to her kids. Marie truly had a special touch and connected well with her students.
Although Marie was struggling with illness, she came to work every day making an impact and never lost her patience within the classroom. In fact, not many people even knew that she was ill. When her illness precluded her from working, it was always her priority to leave lesson plans that were detailed and in order. Her students always came first.
In her short time in education, Marie made a lasting impact on many of her students, as well as many of her coworkers. Her commitment to education and her personal strength and courage is to be admired. She will be greatly missed.”