Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Funeral to be held today for slain Sarnia teacher

 noelle paquette

Slain teacher, Noelle Paquette, always looked out for students in need

SARNIA, ONT. - SARNIA, Ont. — Noelle Paquette left her house every day with two lunches — one for herself and one for a student in need.
The bubbly 27-year-old kindergarten teacher had only been at St. Matthew’s Catholic School for a few months covering a maternity leave, but friends say she left a lasting impact on students.
Miss P, as she was known, wanted to turn all her students into “smash hits” — a term she used to describe success. Knowing they couldn’t do it without the basics, she even bought clothing and footwear for students who were in need.
That’s just the type of teacher and person Noelle was, friend Kyle Braatz said.
“I think there was no better profession for Noelle,” said Braatz, who met Paquette 10 years ago while they studied at the University of Ottawa. “She was meant to be a teacher.”
But Paquette’s career was tragically cut short.
Her body was found in a woodlot last Wednesday. She'd gone missing after leaving a New Year’s Eve party in downtown Sarnia.
Tanya Bogdanovich, 31, and Michael MacGregor, 19, both of Sarnia, have been charged with first-degree murder.
They were arrested Thursday at a London, Ont., hotel. QMI Agency reported Sunday the pair appear to have been involved in a perverse online relationship that included detailed accounts of rape and violence.
Provincial police in this southern Ontario city didn’t release any new information on the case Monday.
To honour Paquette's memory, her family and friends have launched Noelle’s Gift, a fund to help Lambton County students in need. Donations will help purchase classroom supplies, nutritional meals, and clothing and footwear.
Braatz said the fund is the perfect way to honour his kind-hearted friend.
“If you met her once, you fell in love with her just the way she smiled, the way she didn’t judge a single soul,” he said. “As soon as she met you, she wanted to be your friend.”
Students and staff at St. Matthew’s Catholic School honoured their late teacher Monday on their first day back from Christmas holidays.
Hundreds of people gathered in a small courtyard in downtown Sarnia Monday for a candlelight vigil.
“We need to focus on the love Noelle shared with us all the time because that’s who she was,” said Laura Persichetti, one of Paquette’s friends.
Paquette’s funeral will be held Tuesday morning