Fargo students mourn teacher after he suffered medical emergency during online class
FARGO — The sun was shining on the sidewalk in front of Fargo North High School Sunday afternoon, April 19, where a few students were reflecting on the loss of a beloved teacher.
Posters and chalk drawings with messages of "Rest easy, Cap" and "We will miss you" were interspersed with flowers at the makeshift memorial for geometry teacher Rodney Capistran.
Capistran died Friday after suffering a medical emergency while teaching a virtual class from home earlier in the week.
"It's taking a while to sink in," North student Jack Dickinson said. He came to the high school Sunday to leave a message in chalk for Capistran.
Someone recorded the medical incident, Dickinson said, and the video circulated through the student body.
"It was very disrespectful," he said. "It was difficult to hear his family ... and it's upsetting that anyone would try to make a joke of it."
Capistran's passing was "really unexpected," Dickinson said, as students had a call with the principal early on Friday and were told their teacher was "on his way to recovery."
Hours later, students received another call telling them Capistran had died, Dickinson said.
"He was the most requested teacher at North," he said. "Everyone wanted to be in his class."
"He was one of the most loved teachers at North," fellow student Marlee Nudell agreed.
She sat among the chalk drawings remembering how her teacher had gone above and beyond to help her.
Nudell said after she missed almost a month of school, Capistran helped her catch up not only with math, but with all her classes.
"He really cared for us," Dickinson said. "He was always there for us. He was never hard on students. He was just a really good guy.
"I'm really sad he's gone."