Our News 8 Golden Apple Award winner spent most of her life teaching at State Road Elementary School in Webster. Sadly, Sherri Leupold passed away this spring. We were asked to honor Sherri by several former students.
Sherri Leupold will never be forgotten at State Road Elementary School. She was part of everything her students did in and out of school. Even after retiring, Sherri continued to volunteer right until a diagnosis of uterine cancer.
Teacher Cindy Handley was a good friend. "She fought a very tough battle the last year and unfortunately she passed."
Sherri may be gone, but her lessons live on with her former students. Andrea Schaertel is now a 9th grader. "She was very patient and she always did everything she could to help her students."
9th Grader Peter Armbruster says "I remember she always used to send cards for your birthday and holidays all the way until you were a Senior. Then she would send you a graduation card."
Nate Armbruster is Peter's little brother. "Every time I went into the classroom with my brother she would always put me to work."
9th Grader Valerie Cardillo says "Everyday when we walked into the classroom she always gave everybody a hug, she never left anybody out. She made everybody feel special."
And 9th Grader Keelin Herbst says Ms. Leupold's legacy will simply be "That she was just a great person."
"I think her legacy is not only that she was a wonderful teacher" adds Cindy Handley, "But she was a wonderful colleague, a wonderful friend and I think the kids will never forget her."
Great teachers are never forgotten. Sherri Leupold will never be forgotten. That's why she is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner.
Look below to read the letter we got from the Armbruster family nominating her. You can also read the beautiful eulogy Cindy Handley gave at Sherri's funeral in March.
Dear Channel 8,
This is a special request from the parent of a student. Last night our family went to a funeral to celebrate the life of Miss Leupold who died at the age of 59 from cancer.
She retired early to help take care of an ailing parent. This teacher created such a great foundation of education and caring for my son (who is now in high school) and I was hoping that you could present State Road Elementary School with a posthumous Golden Apple Award in honor of her.
Miss Leupold sent birthday cards to her students every year until they graduated from high school and then they all received a graduation card. I watched this soft-spoken and classy lady turn a group of rowdy boys into gentlemen who treated each other with respect and celebrated each other's success.
Miss Leupold inspired hundreds of children throughout her career and it was evident last night at her service by the number of students in attendance how emotionally they talked about how she impacted their lives.
Please celebrate this woman in a public way and honor her at State Road School.
The Armbruster Family
Eulogy for Sherri Leupold by Cindy Handley
Sherri was special. I found a poem that I would like to read as I think it describes Sherri perfectly.
"Special" is a word that is used to describe something one of a kind like a hug or a sunset or a person who spreads love with a smile or kind deed. "Special" describes people who act from the heart and keep in mind the hearts of others. "Special" applies to something that is admired and precious and which can never be replaced. "Special" is the word that best described Sherri.
Sherri was a special colleague. I started teaching 23 years ago, and Sherri had just begun teaching first grade at State Road coming from Plank South. We became friends immediately. She was always someone you could count on to help you any time, any day! Sherri was the most generous woman I have ever known, not only in her giving, but with her time as well. The staff at State Road School could talk for hours about Sherri, and each person would be able to tell you just how special Sherri was, and what she meant to so many people.
Sherri always acted from the heart, and always thought of others before herself. I am certain most of Sherri's paychecks went to buy things for others. That was Sherri! After Sherri retired, she began volunteering in my classroom a couple of days each week. She shared all of her art center projects with me, and organized the math packet and reading contests for me. When I tried to help her by correcting some of the packets, I actually gave up because she would give each child a sticker on every page of the packet! I couldn't compete with how beautifully she corrected each child's packet. She was amazing!
I was so blessed to have her help me in the classroom again for two times this year in December before she was unable to come in. Now Sherri's art projects were always a work of art, with lots of parts and details! I am lost without her, but I will continue to carry on Sherri's tradition until I retire. You couldn't ask for a better colleague than Sherri!
What a special teacher Sherri was. Always a professional, loving and caring about each of the children in her class. She would honestly go the extra mile in every aspect of teaching.. from the math packet and reading contests she held every year, to the art centers she supplied with her own money so the children could make special gifts and keepsakes for their families. Of course the contests were always about ice cream... and Miss Leupold probably took a hundred students or more for their ice cream reward at Friendly's for all of their hard work. This of course again on her own time, and with her own money! Children loved Sherri, and I know Miss Leupold was a favorite teacher of every child she ever had.
If you were in Miss Leupold's class, you would receive a birthday card for your birthday every year until you graduated from High School, and then you would receive a graduation card! I don't know how she kept track of it all, but she did! I wish all of the students whose lives she touched forever could tell you just how special having Miss Leupold for a teacher was, but that would take about a month or more!
Finally, I can tell you how special she was to have as a friend, because her friendship is what I will carry in my heart forever. Sherri was the most thoughtful person I will ever know... always remembering anniversaries, and my birthday, and after both my boys arrived, their birthdays each and every year. Just when you needed a lift, flowers would show up at your door, or rice crispy treats, or a homemade apple pie. Then there were the thank you notes, written in her beautiful calligraphy, and always filled with every detail of whatever she was thanking you for. How I wish I had saved them all, because they were such a gift to receive! Many of my fondest memories of Sherri involve ice cream... her passion, and I so loved to watch her enjoy every morsel of her extra fudge sundae. The last time I treated her to dinner for her birthday, the ice cream bill was larger than our dinner bill!
I can't begin to tell you how much I have admired Sherri's tenacity and perseverance throughout this terrible battle which she fought with grace and courage, and always a sense of humor. She even found time to visit my Mom after my Mom's knee surgery, and I know Sherri was not feeling well herself. How I will miss her laugh and her smile which she shared even on the worst days. Again, she would always want to know how I was, and I know she really did want to know the answer. We never did get to have a home cooked steak dinner together, and I have lost my favorite ice cream buddy. Sherri will always be precious, and one of a kind, a rare colleague, teacher and friend.
Sherri, I know you are listening today, and I want you to know just how special you were to me, how much I am going to miss you, and how blessed I have been to have had you as my friend. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. My love to you today and always.