MULDROW (KFSM) -- Students at Muldrow High School returned to class Monday (Oct. 27) to learn a popular teacher died Saturday.
Melanie Andrews Perez started teaching at Muldrow High School December 2012.
“Yes we did Spanish, and yes we followed the lesson plans, but we learned life lessons, too. You’re not promised a day. So every day we did something in that class that was another life lesson,” said junior Mollie Hearn.
She discovered she had stomach cancer right after she gave birth to her fourth son.
“A 10-month-old will never know his mother, except what people will tell him,” Doris Coker said.
Coker was Perez’s 5th grade teacher, right down the road at Muldrow Middle School.
“If they needed her, she was here, no matter how she felt,” Coker said.
"She would go get chemo and the next day she would be at school teaching kids for eight hours a day,” Hearn said.
No one knew it at the time, but Sept. 12 was her last day of work. Hearn helped organize lesson plans while she was in the hospital.
"One of my favorite quotes is 'Live a life that shines.' And, she did that,” Hearn said. “She was encouraging. That was the biggest thing. No matter how bad her situation was, she still let her light shine. And I think that's huge.”
The 36-year-old Perez was universally respected.
"High school kids – [there are] not many of us that they really even like. They tolerate us. But they loved her,” Coker said.
As an instructor of language, Hearn said the biggest lesson Perez taught her students is the power of words.
Her funeral will be held Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. at the Assembly of God Church in Muldrow.