School remembers Chamorro teacher killed in crash - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

School remembers Chamorro teacher killed in crash

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Staff, faculty and students at Juan M. Guerrero Elementary School are in shock after a substitute Chamorro teacher died in a tragic car crash in Dededo after leaving the school on Wednesday.

Senora Christina Fernandez's students and co-workers had a moment of silence today, honoring the substitute teacher who has been a staple at school since the start of the school year.  Fernandez died on Wednesday afternoon after crashing into a concrete pole on Mendioka Street in dededo. An autopsy revealed that she died from a crushed chest.

Her youngest child was riding in the front seat and remains at the guam memorial hospital. His condition is unknown, but staff of the school say he is improving since yesterday's crash.

Darla Reyes told KUAM News, "It is a total shock to lose someone like that, so sudden." Reyes, Yvonne Toves, and Antonia Manibusan are Chamorro teachers at the school who have helped mentor Fernandez.  They just had lunch with her on Wednesday.

"She was really, really into the teaching of the Chamorro language," Toves said. "When she goes into the classroom, the kids are ready for her and they really show enthusiasm; that they want to learn the Chamorro language."

Fernandez began as a volunteer with HeadStart last school year and applied to be an on-call substitute teacher when school began in August.  When a Chamorro teacher resigned, Fernandez stepped up to the plate. Reyes said, "She's really into the language. She really wanted to learn a lot to the point that she should become a full-time Chamorro teacher. She was always a helping hand. Anytime we needed something to be done, she was willing to do it."

Manibusan said, "She was very patient, a very patient teacher."

The school counselor visited each of Fernandez's classes today and spoke with the kids, encouraging them to stay strong and pray for their teacher and her family. She said, in Chamorro, "We appreciated her service to the school and to the teaching of the language and we appreciated that she was eager to learn and that she had patience with the children and she was able to follow us in those footsteps."

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash but the medical examiner says preliminary indications show that Fernandez was not speeding at the time of the crash.

Fernandez was 31 years old.

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