Elementary school pays tribute to late teacher

MINERAL WELLS – A kindergarten teacher at Mineral Wells Elementary School who died of cancer early this year was remembered Friday by students and staff from the school, along with some of her family and friends.

Rebecca A. Mangus died Jan. 30 at the age of 38 after a five-year battle with breast cancer.

A teacher for 18 years, including 17 in the Wood County Schools System, Mangus spent the last five years teaching kindergarten at Mineral Wells. She was a 1992 graduate of Parkersburg South High School. She graduated from Marietta College and received a master’s from Marshall University.

Tammy Parker, an interventionist at Mineral Wells School and the organizer of Friday’s dedication, said the students and staff at Mineral Wells had been working for months to raise money, through T-shirt sales, wristband sales and donations, raising a total of $750. The shirt sales were done on behalf of Wood County Relay for Life and that money was donated to the American Cancer Society, Parker said.

The other money raised was being used at Mineral Wells School in honor of Mangus. Her parents, Delmas and Joyce Mangus, donated two trees which were planted this week in the school’s playground.

Parker said a third tree was bought from the money raised and planted with the ones donated by her parents. That money will also be used to commission and install a dedication plaque that will be placed with the trees, she said.

“That will allow future generations to know why those trees were planted and who they are in memory of,” she said.

“We are also purchasing a painting in her honor that we’re going to put in the hallway where she taught,” Parker added.

The entire school body gathered for a dedication ceremony Friday afternoon in the school gymnasium, which was attended by friends and family members of Mangus, including her parents and sister Jeanette Mangus. Following the program, everyone went out onto the playground to view and dedicate the three new trees.

At the end of the program, some of her former students were given 18 balloons to release to mark each of her years as a teacher.

Jeanette Mangus, her sister, said she and her parents were very glad to be able to attend Friday’s ceremony.

“I’m really touched that they thought this much of her to do this,” she said.