Fargo students mourn teacher after he suffered medical emergency during online class

Students leave messages in memory of geometry teacher Rodney Capistran at Fargo North High School Sunday, April 19. Kaity Young / The Forum

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.

Rodney Capistran. Special to The Forum


"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."

Kaity Young is a news editor at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. She joined the company in 2018 and enjoys learning about her community and the region through editing news stories.
What To Read Next
An investigation found that students used racial slurs and actions toward minority basketball players from Bismarck High School.
The need for the project dates back to 2016, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency designated the east side of Newfolden as lying within the 100-year floodplain
Annual giving event supports 550 charities throughout North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota; donations may be pre-scheduled.
Neil Joseph Pfeifer was released Friday, Feb. 3, on $5,000 cash bail.