The class of 2022 remembers Ms. Eddy

The lasting impact of a former Shorewood health teacher

by Kate Grutz, Editor in Chief

A woman beloved by all, someone who touched the hearts of every student and staff member, whose retirement was long awaited and well-deserved, someone whose passing shocked and devastated everyone who knew her. The graduating class of 2022 will have been the last class to have had Dona Eddy as their health teacher. While new classes will not have any memories of Eddy, the legacy of her kindness will forever touch the hearts of those who pass through Shorewood’s doors.

Eddy was a role model and mentor for many people during her more than 20 years at Shorewood. Brianne Sturm, the health and fitness teacher, was a coworker and a friend of Eddy’s. Sturm was hired only a couple of days before school started her first year working at Shorewood. “[Eddy] took me under her wing immediately,” Sturm said. Sturm and Eddy were co-teachers in the health wing. “I would have struggled had I not had her,” Sturm said. Her first year at Shorewood was a whirlwind, but Eddy was a calming presence through it all. 

“She was a welcoming support system and she really went above and beyond to really make me feel like I had everything under control,” Sturm said, “She always had her door open so students could come in. Students would eat lunch in there.” Students who needed a safe space would come to Eddy’s room. “She was that place for people to feel welcome. Students knew that her room was a place they could go,” Sturm said. 

In the same hall as Eddy’s former health classroom was Diana Dillard’s classroom, where she teaches cooking skills at multiple levels. Dillard and Eddy were close friends in and out of work.

Being so close to Eddy gave Dillard insight into what an amazing woman she truly was. Dillard could see first hand how much of a hard worker Eddy was. “Dona was usually one of the last people to leave the building at night,” Dillard said. Dillard remembers Eddy being extremely dedicated to, not only her work, but also her family.

“She was always doing family things. She was really involved in her church, she was just so incredibly active and energetic,” she said. 

Eddy may have been a teacher at Shorewood, but her influence reached beyond that. Eddy was also the advisor for the ‘Family, Career and Community Leaders of America’ (FCCLA), where students had the opportunity to learn real world skills, get leadership opportunities and better themselves. Tania Mehta, senior, was a member of the FCCLA club during Eddy’s final year at Shorewood. Mehta and Sturm got a very similar impression of Eddy.

“She would always be there for all the club members whenever we were having problems or any sort of issue,” Mehta said. Mehta remembers Eddy as a very kind force within the club. “She would always be so encouraging and sweet about everything,” Mehta said, “One time when she saw me stressing over something I had to complete for the club, she took me aside, talked to me, and instantly calmed me down. That moment was unforgettable.”

“She would answer every single question I had and would make sure I understood her completely,” Mehta said. Eddy’s excellent leadership skills were seen in both FCCLA and in her role as a health teacher. “If there [were] times where I needed to lean on her a little bit more, she was there,” Sturm said. 

When staff and students heard of Eddy’s plans to retire, everyone was excited for her. “She worked so hard and nobody deserved retirement more than her,” Dillard said. Sturm agreed that Eddy’s retirement was long overdue. “She never took a break and she really put her all into it. So I was happy for her to have that true break,” Sturm said.

The adored Eddy sadly passed away less than six months after retiring. “We all try to make sense of death and hers seemed so senseless and so untimely and so unfair,” Sturm said. Everyone on staff was shocked. “I was so sad,” Dillard said. Both Sturm and Dillard struggled to make sense of how such a light at Shorewood could be gone. “She had touched a bunch of people’s lives,” Sturm said.

Eddy’s passing was a true tragedy, and so many were impacted by her death, following a boating accident. Although her death was shocking, it was the way she lived her life that truly left the biggest impact. Sturm said, “When it’s really easy to be so selfish, she was the least selfish person.” 

Dona Eddy did not get the retirement she deserved, but her legacy will continue to live on here at Shorewood. No one wil be able to forget Eddy’s philosophy of kindness and the way she always put others first. “She’s one of those people who was so genuine, she would really go above and beyond for you and not think twice about it,” Sturm said. Dillard said, “I keep that in the back of my mind, don’t forget to play and have fun and to laugh. She was really good at that.”