SHERBURN - A beloved teacher makes a lasting impression on her students. They don't forget.
As at Martin County West High School, where the class of 2012 remembers Kaylie Hogue, who taught upper-level English classes for three years. On Saturday, several members of the class gathered on school grounds to plant a tree - a purple prince crabapple - to honor Hogue. She passed away in June 2013 after suffering an epileptic seizure. She was just 24 years old.
"She was probably one of my favorite teachers, personally," said Austin Gowen, gesturing to those around him. "I know she meant a lot to these guys, as they would testify."
Several members of the Martin County West class of 2012 plant a tree on Saturday at the school in memory of teacher Kaylie Hogue, who passed away suddenly in June 2013. From left, Jake Hannegrefs, Tyler Sinn and Austin Gowen.
Gowen was class president. Stunned at Hogue's death, he was also motivated to keep her memory alive.
"As soon as we found out [she had died], the next day I sent a little Facebook message to everybody to see what we wanted do right away," he said.
All the students in the class contributed funds to plant the tree and put down a stone marker. Such memorials reflect the permanence of the effect Hogue had.
"I know she impacted me, because now I'm going to school for education," Gowen said. "... She pushed us to be better students and to be better people all around."
He is a student at Minnesota State-Mankato, with plans to teach science, math or political science.
"We were one of the toughest classes she had, so she took it as a personal goal to, [so to speak], beat into us some morals," said Anthony Johnson.
In addition to teaching English, Hogue taught speech, art of film, theatre and writing. She also was adviser to the student council and helped with school plays.
Hogue was eulogized as someone who really shaped students. At her funeral, school principal David Traetow said: "Students loved her because of her genuine care and concern for their well-being. No matter what their ability level, they always felt like equals in her room, and could just be themselves. ... She treated everyone and every opportunity with dignity and respect."
There is a Kaylie Hogue Memorial Scholarship at Martin County West. Anyone interested in donating can contact the school.
There also will be a Kaylie's Memorial 5K Rainbow Color Run from 6-9 p.m. June 7 at Allison Park in Sleepy Eye, Hogue's hometown. The event will raise funds for the scholarship in her name at Martin County West, as well as for scholarships at Sleepy Eye Public and Sleepy Eye St. Mary's. Some of the proceeds will go to the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.
Those interested can register at www.kayliecares.eventbright.com