Traina teacher remembered
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 21, 2013 | 5384 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Flagpole dedicated to Merrill
Roger Traina of the Tracy Breakfast Lions Club watches as the American flag is raised on the new flagpole dedicated to former teacher Carole Merrill at Traina Elementary School on Thursday, May 16. Merrill died of a heart attack while teaching in an eighth grade classroom in 2011. Carole Merrill died of a heart attack in 2011 while teaching an eighth-grade class at the school. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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An American flag flew at attention on a flagpole at Traina School dedicated Thursday, May 16, to the late eighth-grade teacher Carole Merrill.

Merrill, 42, died from a heart condition after being rushed from her classroom to the hospital on the second day of school in August 2011.

Former Traina Principal Sue Moffitt, who hired Merrill as a classroom aide at the school in 2005, helped coordinate the tribute.

“Carole was a flag person,” Moffitt said. “The flag and being patriotic was in her core.”

A crowd of about 150 students, co-workers and relatives of Merrill gathered in the student courtyard at Traina School, 4256 Windsong Drive, for the ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

“When it happened, the staff wanted to honor her,” Moffitt said. “She’s a wonderful woman, one like no other — an incredible mother to students.”

Jefferson School District Superintendent Dana Eaton told the assembled crowd that Merrill’s “life quantity was too short,” but her “quality of life could last many lifetimes.”

He said plans for the dedication began in spring 2012.

“Such a shocking loss,” Eaton said. “They (staff) were trying to think of a fitting tribute. We though this was really apropos.”

Members of a local Boy Scout troop raised the flag, and Eaton held up a plaque for the site that read, “Dedicated to the memory of our teacher, colleague, and friend Carole Merrill. May her dedication and honor be an inspiration to us all.”

Fifth-grade teacher Deanna Kitchuck said Merrill would have been proud to be a part of the dedication.

“Carole was a dear, dear friend,” she said. “She worked tirelessly for the staff and students. She enhanced the education and lives of everyone she worked with — taken from us much too early.”

Also attending the ceremony were Merrill’s husband, Mike, and two of their five children , Elizabeth, 13, and Joseph, 16.

“I thought it was a perfect memorial for Carole,” Mike Merrill said.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

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