Elementary Students at a Fort Wayne School Are Dealing with the Loss of a Teacher

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 08/04 2014 06:26PM

Updated 08/05 2014 08:36AM

Fort Wayne Community Schools starts two weeks from today, but unfortunately the excitement of a new year is being replaced with shock and sadness, as the school system lost one of their elementary school teachers this past weekend.

"It's a shock, It's a huge shock."

Melodie Brunell's daughter was supposed to be in Natalie Zeller's second grade class.

"Explain the hard facts. That she's not going to be able to have that teacher, and that a teacher they both loved, is now gone."

According to police, Second Grade Teacher Natalie Zellers was with her husband when she fell off a boat on Silver Lake. She didn't resurface until Indiana Conservation Officers recovered her body in 22 feet of water.

Assistant Superintendent of Elementary for Fort Wayne Community Schools Pam Musick says this loss hits home for everyone.
"Losing Natalie was a terrible loss to our school district, to the kids, and the families, and colleagues at Washington Center and the entire district. We are all very sad, and trying to imagine how we can fill that hole that she left."

Musick says losing a teacher will be especially difficult for the students.
"It's going to be an adjustment, but we have tips available when parents come in for registration today, or as school begins, on how to deal with grief. or what support we can provide to the students as need be."

As other families buy school supplies, the Brunell's are instead figuring out how to explain death to their second grader.

"It's going to be a hard discussion. I'm not looking forward to it at all, It will be what it is, but I'm not looking forward to this conversation this evening."

The first day for students is August 18, and for the staff and students at Washington Center Elementary, there's no doubt they'll be missing one of their own.

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