Smithridge Elementary School students create rock garden to honor teacher

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – Parents, students and teachers gathered Friday afternoon for a touching tribute to a local school teacher.

Fifth-grade teacher Sara Hescher passed away back in February due to health-related issues, but inside Smithridge Elementary School her spirit lives on.

Students spent more than a month, working on the memorial rocks. Friday, Hescher’s family and friends got to see the finished product of the heart-warming gesture, as the kids placed them in the school’s garden.

“She had two German Sheppard so I put two paws on one rock and then, on one of the paws I put miss Hescher and then my name,” said student Moises Barriga.

The school’s learning facilitator, Nurit Stites said the garden symbolizes healing.

“For about two weeks, we had a few kids walking around saying, ‘Are you sure this really happen? Are you sure she’s not coming back? Maybe she went somewhere else,” said Stites.

Those that knew her best, described her sense of humor as sharp.

“She was a nice teacher and I really miss her,” said student Alejandra Hernandez Garcia. “She was always very nice, she wasn’t very strict.”

“If I was doing something bad she’ll be like, ‘Moises you want me to call your mom?’ and I was like ‘No, I’ll pay attention’,” said Barriga.

Stites says she was confident Ms. Hescher would have become an administrator.

“She was my mentee… She learned quickly, she had a way with people and obviously a way with children,” said Stites.

The rocks have been coated to withstand the weather. The goal is for the students and staff to be able to go to the garden, see the rocks and remember her lessons and teachings.

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