‘Smart’ way to walkAir Force Base teachers to honor their friend in Fargo Marathon 5K walk-run
Step by step, 19 Carl Ben Eielson teachers Friday will honor the memory of their late co-worker, Amber Smart.
GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE — Step by step, 19 Carl Ben Eielson teachers today will honor the memory of their late co-worker, Amber Smart.
The elementary teachers will walk together at 6:30 p.m. in the Fargo Marathon 5K walk/run. As they walk, they will share memories of Smart, a Carl Ben Eielson special education teacher, who collapsed and died Oct. 14 at school from an enlarged heart.
Carl Ben Eielson School Principal Angie Jonasson suggested to the teachers that they walk together as a tribute to Smart, who was much-loved and respected by both co-workers and students, she said.
Jonasson and Smart had hoped to run together in a 5K in Grand Forks last summer, Jonasson said. But they couldn’t coordinate their schedules, so Jonnason had planned to ask Smart over the winter if she wanted to run in the 5K at the Fargo Marathon in the spring. Smart, whose enthusiasm was contagious, would have inspired other Carl Ben Eielson School teachers to run, Jonasson said.
“She was a motivator.”
“I would have hopped on board because it would have been fun, even though I haven’t run a day in my life,” said Heather Stromme, a kindergarten teacher and Smart’s best friend.
Smart had rapport with her students, said Annie Bohnsack, a Carl Ben Eielson special education teacher.
“She had a calm, soothing way about her,” Bohnsack said.
Even the most emotional student would quiet down after Smart talked to them, said Jody Paulson, Carl Ben Eielson School speech therapist.
“She had a way, a technique, a strategy that would calm them down.”
Popular teacher, co-worker
Students looked forward to going to Smart’s room, said Jennie Quanrud, a Carl Ben Eielson School paraprofessional
“They knew her name was Amber Smart, and they knew if they went to her room, they would come out smarter,” she said.
The staff had T-shirts made to commemorate Smart and will wear them at school today and during the 5K this evening. During their walk and at dinner afterward, the teachers will talk about Smart and their feelings of loss and sadness.
“Its been hard without her here,” Jonasson said. “She brought a lot to our building. We’re feeling a loss of a really great colleague and a loss of a friend as well. “
Their gathering will be bittersweet, she said.
“We just wish she was here to do this with us. We’ll be thinking of her the whole time.”
Bailey writes features for the Herald. Reach her at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to email@example.com.