As you know our beloved Shae Walker passed away in March from cancer. Our school had an amazing opportunity to help raise money on her behalf. Thanks to your generosity, we earned over $800, which is more than enough money to buy the brick paver stating her name for the Hunstman Cancer Institute “Walk of Hope” pathway. Your love for Shae Walker was definitely felt. We love you Shae!
Update: Our story made it into the Daily Herald! You can read it below:
Utah Valley's Everyday Heroes
Payson students raise hundreds to honor teacher who died of cancer
Many people go about doing good deeds in their families, neighborhoods, organizations and church congregations. “Utah Valley’s Everyday Heroes” celebrates these unsung community members and brings to light their quiet contributions.
Included in her termination letter is a comment stating Shae Walker intended to return to Park View Elementary School in Payson next school year. She’d worked at the school for 25 years, three of them while she was receiving cancer treatments. The school was more than a job to her, it was one of her favorite places.
“She absolutely loved it,” said Bart Walker, who was married to Shae Walker for 36 years. “Probably one of the hardest things for her to do was get sick enough where she couldn’t go to work.”
Shae Walker, the school’s computer technician who taught computer classes, died in late March from cancer. She worked at the school up until December.
The school had hoped to raise $350 to pay for a personalized paving stone honoring Walker that will be on the Walk of Hope at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. The school sold suckers before school and during lunch, and raised the $350 by Wednesday of the week-long fundraiser that happened last week.
The students ended up raising more than $800.
Principal Shanna Stirland said the fundraiser was a way for the school to honor Walker.
When students bought a sucker, they were also given a paper heart they could write their name and a message on to be placed on a poster. Stirland was putting the hearts up when a student approached her and said they missed Mrs. Walker.
“I said, ‘I do, too, but she’d be so proud that we were doing something to help others with cancer,’” Stirland said.
Walker’s death hit the Park View community hard. With social media, the students who had watched Walker get sicker knew coming into school that morning their keyboarding teacher had died.
Kamryn Meek, a sixth grader who is the secretary for the student council, remembers when Walker announced she was sick.
“We had to use hand sanitizer more often,” Meek said.
Meek said the fundraiser was a way to show the school cared. Many students donated money without wanting a sucker in return.
“She’s an amazing teacher,” Meek said. “She paid attention to all of the students.”
After a vote from the teachers, Walker was named the school’s Classified Employee of the Year in February.
Walker’s husband arranged to have her go to the hairdresser and have her hair done before she was surprised with the award.
“It was extra special for her, I think,” Bart Walker said.
He said the family is thankful to the school community for the fundraiser.
“That makes you feel good, to know you had that kind of support from people you didn’t know,” he said.
The Walker lived in the Park View Elementary School boundaries, which meant Walker regularly ran into students at church or at the grocery store. Two of their grandchildren also attend the school. Bart Walker said Shae knew all the kids in her class, and he never saw her roll her eyes when students approached them outside of school.
She received good care at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, he said, and they donated two unworn wigs she bought there. She’d bought them expecting to lose her hair from chemotherapy, but never lost it.
He said she would be honored and humbled by the fundraiser.
“To raise the money to honor her up there, it was a pretty big deal to me and my family,” he said.