Cumberland Junior School will host a celebration of life for a man called “the heart of the school.”
Learning assistance teacher Ted Newman, 61, passed away suddenly due to a heart attack April 22, and a public celebration of life will be held for him Saturday at 1 p.m. in the school gym.
Cumberland Junior School principal Philip Maund says one teacher put it perfectly when they called Newman ‘the heart of the school.’
“We have messages (posted up) all around the school that we’re going to use in the ceremony on Saturday,” says Maund. “Every kid was given a piece of paper to write their own personal message to Ted.
“Every single kid did, and a lot of them were, ‘Thank you for getting me through (school); I wouldn’t have done it without you.’ “
Newman worked at the school since 1989, primarily as a learning assistance teacher.
According to Maund, many of the students Newman worked with struggled with their school work, especially math. Maund adds Newman was someone the students respected, and thanked, because he put so much time and effort into helping them improve their studies.
He also helped with numerous extracurricular activities at the school. Whether it was school dances, staff activities or basketball and volleyball games, Newman was there helping, says Maund, adding Newman had been coaching track and field earlier during the day he passed away.
“He’s one of those people who lived to work, didn’t work to live,” says Maund. “He loved being in school — he was very, very rarely away.”
Newman’s daughter Louesa Byrne, who is 32 and now lives in Vancouver, says people her age from the Valley still remember her dad teaching them years ago.
“He was an amazing teacher,” says Byrne. “He really found a way to get to kids that needed a little bit extra attention and support, you know, some kids that kind of had a rough go of it, he was really able to connect with them and to encourage them to do better.
“We’re all going to miss him a lot,” Byrne continues on behalf of her family. “But we know that he connected with so many people while he was here that I think he’s left a legacy, just with his connections to people and how he’s changed their lives, and that makes me really proud, my sister as well.”
For anyone wishing to express their condolences, a book is available to sign in the Cumberland Junior School foyer. The Saturday celebration of life is open to any friends, family or students, past or present, of Ted Newman.