A scholarship fund has been created to benefit students in honor of a 25-year-old Waukegan elementary school teacher who died suddenly from COVID-19 and pneumonia.
Oakdale Elementary School Principal Catalina Quinones-Nelson sent a message to parents last week saying the school was “saddened to report” the death of Kaitlin Schaumberger.
Schaumberger was a “much-beloved” teacher who began working at Oakdale Elementary School in August.
“We know this news is sudden and difficult for the entire Oakdale community,” Quinones-Nelson said.
“At this time we have no further details to share, and we are asking that everyone respect the Schaumberger family’s privacy, as we all work to cope with this tragedy,” Quinones-Nelson added.
An obituary for Schaumberger, 25, described her as “an absolute ray of sunshine.”
Schaumberger died on Friday from complications of COVID-19 and pneumonia, her obituary said.
“Kaitlin loved hanging out with family and friends, exploring different cities and countries, enjoying her morning smoothies, teaching her second-grade students, listening to Charlie XCX and Carrie Underwood, ensuring she always took the best selfies, and so much more,” the obituary read.
The school district’s mental health support team was made available this week to Oakdale students and staff seeking assistance.
Additional support and assistance for students in Schaumberger’s class were also made available.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Schaumberger’s family and friends, and those close to her. Ms. Schaumberger was a committed and dedicated teacher who shared the love of teaching and learning,” Quinones-Nelson said.
“She provided our students with encouragement and support each and every day. She went above and beyond and we will truly miss her,” Quinones-Nelson added.
Teachers, students and Quinones-Nelson reflected on Schaumberger’s impact and legacy during a Tuesday board of education meeting.
A GoFundMe to create a scholarship in Schaumberger’s honor has raised nearly $12,000.
The funds will be held in a trust by the woman’s family and later donated to Oakdale Elementary to help purchase materials and resources for the students.
“Becoming a teacher was always Kaitlin’s dream. She absolutely adored all her second graders and often stayed late after school to make sure they had what they needed. Kaitlin was a strong advocate for the students at Oakdale Elementary in Waukegan,” the fundraiser said.
A funeral service was held Wednesday morning in Arlington Heights.