Hearts are heavy at Center Point Elementary after a beloved teacher was killed yesterday in a car accident.
One thing that was evident from the folks we talked to: Elaine Peterson loved her students, loved her job and she loved to laugh.
"She was a very dedicated teacher and went above and beyond the call of duty," CEP principal Laura Kirkpatrick said.
"She was just there. Her dedication was unbelievable," Jawanda McCleod added.
Friends and colleagues say that was evident from one consistent factor -- the time Elaine Peterson arrived at school each day, between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. every morning.
It was close to that time Thursday morning that she was headed to work at Center Point Elementary.
Authorities say near the intersection of Highway 79 and Pawnee Road, Peterson's SUV collided with a cement truck and flipped into the median. Elaine Peterson was killed in the wreck.
"I guess the first thing was denial. It still doesn't seem real. And I felt maybe there had been a mistake. But unfortunately that was not true," Kirkpatrick said.
Laura Kirkpatrick had been Ms. Peterson's principal for seven years. She described seeing her in the classroom with her special needs students as a joy.
"She made a difference in the lives of children. That is the legacy she wanted to leave. She treated her students as if they were her own children," Kirkpatrick said.
She was regarded as a leader in her department and her school, but there was one particular trait that stood out.
"She would most of all make you laugh, say something to make you laugh. That was definitely her," McLeod said.
And it's all those traits that the CEP family says they'll miss.
"It's going to be hard because she was well liked and well loved and her presence was definitely known," McLeod said.
Peterson had three sons, two adult boys and one in college. In lieu of flowers, her family is asking that donations be made to the Center Point Elementary Special Ed department.
Her funeral services will be held at Baptist Church of the Covenant at 21st and University Boulevard. Her visitation will be Sunday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. and the funeral will follow at 5 p.m.
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