FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Just outside the window of classroom of a former teacher at Cedar Canyon Elementary School, a rock and memorial garden are in the works to honor the man who died earlier in August.
Chris Dodane was killed after he was struck by a semi on I-69, just as Northwest Allen County Schools began their school year.
Students at the school where Dodane was set to teach second grade this year have spent the entire week honoring him, and along with the entire district, raised funds to help his family.
Mr. Dodane Week at Cedar Canyon wrapped up with “Purdue Day” and a dunk tank fundraiser. Some students even had t-shirts with ‘Dodane Strong’ written on the back, along with an image of the mascot from his alma mater. Purdue Pete didn’t just show up on shirts, the real Pete joined the students at Friday’s dunking ceremony.
The four teachers whose classes raised the most funds were submerged. It wasn’t just the teachers that hit the cool water; the school raised enough money to dunk Principal Lochmueller and the district as a whole raised enough money to dunk Superintendent Chris Himsel too.
“What this week allowed us to do from a school perspective was to put some closure on a tragedy that occurred, but to do it in a positive way and we got to tell good stories and we got to celebrate a person’s life,” Himsel said. “We got to concentrate on the good things a person means, and the little things somebody does for other people. And that’s what this week was centered on.”
The school didn’t release a specific amount that was raised during the week. However, we know the principal agreed to be dunked if the school raised more than $12,000. Himsel agreed to be dunked if the entire district raised more than $5,000.