The U-32 community has been deeply saddened by the loss of beloved teacher and colleague, Laure Angel. Laure passed away following a snowmobile accident on February 5th. Laure was a native of France, due to be sworn in as a US citizen on March 20th. She came to the US as a teenager, and graduated from the University of New Hampshire. This was her sixth year at U-32. Laure’s dedication to teaching, unstoppable curiosity and energy, insight, and love made her an incredible teacher, TA (teacher advisor), teaching partner, department head and union official.
Laure was engaged to be married to Kevin Wood, of Williston, with a mountaintop wedding planned for August. Her faith and trust in her students extended to her wedding planning–she was delighted to be planning a wedding that was “student-run.” She asked U-32 students to build centerpieces, take photos, play music, and design and make her wedding dress.
The tributes to Laure have been pouring in from all parts of the community. In the words of those who knew her in each of her roles, we can sense her legacy to this community.
“My son was one of Laure’s first students when she arrived at U-32’s middle school. She immediately sparked, encouraged, and challenged him, and now he’s off in college continuing to study their shared passion of democracy. Laure had a unique ability to be powerful and simultaneously empower those around her. As I hear other parents express their appreciation for her, that’s the common theme – how Laure set an example of being independent and strong and also nurtured those same qualities in her students.” –Erica Zimmerman, parent of Ethan McCollister, one of Laure’s students in her first year at U-32.
“Just a few weeks ago, we had parent-teacher conferences for Andrew. Laure stood out that day as a teacher who expressed complete and utter confidence in Andrew’s abilities and his potential. She was so warm and compassionate. She told Andrew that she would be watching him and couldn’t wait to see what he was up to in 20 years, because she knew that he would be doing amazing things. She also told Andrew that he was a truly nice guy (never making fun of other kids, always being kind to others) and that this quality would help him throughout his life. She boosted his self-confidence that afternoon as he caught a glimpse of himself through her eyes. As a parent, there is no greater gift than a teacher who sees your child’s talents and his potential. That day, she gave a gift to Andrew and to me. She will be a teacher that my son does not forget.” – Caroline Earle, parent of Andrew Rice
“Laure was an incredibly passionate teacher and an unconditional wealth of kindness and support. It’s unbelievable that she only became a part of our community six years ago. It’s a testament to her energy, vibrancy, and influence that despite that short time period, the hole she leaves is irreparably deep. She only taught me for one year, but stayed involved and interested in my life. Her commitment to her students had no end date.” –Ethan McCollister, former student.
“I find it my duty and my desire to thank you for all that you were and still are – for modeling strength in trying times, for igniting a devotion in me to do my small part to better the world, for going beyond the parameters of your job to be one of the best teachers I have ever known (never have I wanted to impress a mentor so badly as I did you), and for believing in me more than I believed in myself.” – former student Audrey Oliver.
From Madison Roberge, about designing and making Laure’s wedding dress:
“There aren’t really words to describe how grateful I am for this opportunity. I was so surprised when she asked me and it’s the biggest project I’ve ever done. I was so surprised when she asked me because she knew this and still was like, “Hey wanna make one of the most important things I’ll ever wear?” I’ve learned so much about something I love to do.”
One of the most important roles teachers play at U-32 is that of teacher advisor, or “TA.” Teachers are linked with a group of incoming seventh graders, and for the next six years, they are the “homeroom teacher,” the advocate, the advisor for those students. Laure’s TA’s are graduating this year, and her impact on them was profound.
“I first met Laure when I entered seventh grade at U-32, an excited new teacher, eager to learn everything about her group of new TAs. I didn’t know it then but Laure was anything but typical. She became my idol, my mentor, and my friend. She cared about us, not only as students, but as people trying to figure out life. When I became passionate about international women’s issues, Laure became my mentor in starting and running a club. She supported my dream and was there for one of the biggest growth experiences of my life. My U-32 experience has been defined by Laure Angel because she inspired me to be the best version of myself.” –Emma Curchin, one of Laure’s TA’s.
In the weeks and months ahead, U-32 will continue to mourn, and to honor the life and legacy of Laure Angel. Please look to the U-32 newspaper, the Chronicle (http://u32chronicle.com) for more memories of and tributes to Laure.
Memorial contributions may be made to the U-32 scholarship fund in Laure Angel’s name to: 930 Gallison Hill Road, Montpelier, VT 05602 for the 8th grade Washington, DC trip.