LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Friends and former students are mourning the loss of a third-grade teacher after she passed away Saturday night from COVID-19 complications, according to the Lexington One School District.
Mrs. Staci Blakely, 50, taught at Carolina Springs Elementary School.
An experienced teacher with 28 years of experience, Blakely began her education career as a second and third-grade teacher at Virginia Park Elementary in Richland County School District One in 1992 before joining Lexington District One in 1999.
Friends, and those who had children in her class, remember her as someone with a heart of gold.
“Just her caring, compassionate attitude, she was just one of those people who loved,” said childhood friend Savilla Miller. “[She] loved well and loved hard. She loved every one. She just…she was someone who just drew people in.”
Blakely’s family asked for space and privacy at this time, but Miller said she knows the family and Lexington One are now all facing a devastating loss.
“I know her students and her fellow educators are going to have a void in their life as a result of her passing,” Miller said.
Lisa Berry’s son was in Blakely’s class more than five years ago, but she said Blakely always stayed in touch.
Berry said her son had a stroke when he was 14 and Blakely called and sent him care packages regularly.
“For her to reach out to him directly and encourage him to stay strong and keep fighting through what he was facing -- it meant a lot to my family and it was important to my son because he always remembered Mrs. Blakely,” Berry said. “She’s been that teacher that we all have, that we always remember.”
Another one of Blakely’s former students described her as the “greatest teacher (he) ever had.”
Will Murphy is in 9th grade now, but said Blakely knew he liked baseball and always kept up with how he was doing and how his transition to high school was going.
“She was a mother away from home,” he said “I could always count on her if I needed anything from her.”
Blakely’s colleagues have told WIS they will be wearing black and Wonder Woman logos in her honor Monday.
A celebration of Staci Blakley’s life will take place Wednesday, Dec. 9 at First Calvary Baptist Church in Leesville.