Remembering a teacher: 'She really communicated that with her students'

BANDON, Ore. -- A Harbor Lights Middle School teacher lost her battle with leukemia and passed away February 23.

It's obvious the kids miss her, but she also left behind a huge impression on the staff.

A huge poster now hangs in the hallway of the school.

Deborah Greenfield, the Harbor Lights Principal, says the kids have been hit pretty hard. "I think it's really, really hard, and I know the kids, all of us, we feel it, so we'll miss her."

Her colleagues thought she would beat it.

"She was in my office less than two weeks ago before she died and said, 'I'm coming back after Spring Break, I think they're gonna let me go,' and a couple days later they air lifted her back to Portland," said Bandon School Superintendent Diane Buche.

At just 41-years-old, Diane Smith lost her battle with leukemia.

Buche told KCBY News that Diane was very dedicated to not only the kids at the school, but education in general. "Oh, I think that she believed that learning was not ever finished," she said. "She loved learning, she got her master's degree and then continued on. She was heading toward a doctorate and she really communicated that with her students."

Greenfield said she was important to the kids, but just as important to the staff she worked with. "Anytime you asked her about anything, 'Oh, I'll look into that,' and the next day she would come with, 'Well, I learned this and this and this, and I'd be happy to teach the staff.' So, that's why we loved her so much."

A celebration of life will be held this Friday at 6:30 pm in the Bandon High School gym.