The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 team is hurting. We’re mourning the loss of one of our own. We learned last week that we lost a vibrant, energetic and compassionate teacher who did what teachers do best in this community, and many others, too – she served.
This message is a tribute to Katelynn Gillen, who passed away last weekend at the age of 28, who gave back to her community, who made connections with students, and who was a fighter. After a long battle with a difficult illness, she may be gone but she will not be forgotten in D38.
Our community should know a few things about Ms. Gillen, including the heart she had, which represents the heart of all of our teachers. While coaching or assisting in multiple sports, including Basketball, Softball and Volleyball, as well as teaching her Physical Education classes, Ms. Gillen didn’t just wear her heart on her sleeve, she taught hundreds of students and student-athletes how to have heart.
This manifested itself in her undefeated Lewis-Palmer Middle School Softball season, which concluded last November, her first year in the district. Her teams built chemistry and connections while filling the halls of LPMS with Patriot Pride. She quickly became a key part of the LPMS community, and she quickly forged connections with colleagues that will last a lifetime and she certainly made an impact on students that will last well into their futures. Our students took time last week to remember Ms. Gillen in an in-school tribute.
“She showed me how to work for success and to celebrate it,” one student wrote in their tribute.
Ms. Gillen had the heart of a leader and educator; showing up every day, battling through her challenges and being present for students. She is a shining example of the D38 team, a group of educators committed to the success of every one of our students.
“She made a huge impact on my life,” another student tribute read. “She told me I was strong when I thought I was weak and she taught me to be bold no matter what.”
We’re here during this time to provide support to all of our students and staff who are grieving in their own way, and we’re here to provide support to the Gillen family as they recover. We ask that you please keep the Gillen family in your thoughts at this time.
Ms. Gillen, you will always be part of our team.
“She made a place in all of our hearts,” another student wrote. “We will get through this together.”
The Gillen family is requesting donations to help pay for memorial costs. To learn more, tap here.
This article first appeared in partnership with the Gazette’s Tribune edition.