Toni Ann Rasch remembered for her kindness, dedication to education

Toni Ann Rasch and her son Vinny

Toni Ann Rasch and her son Vinny

Gracie Deichler, Opinion Editor

When thinking about Toni Ann Brevetti Rasch, her students and coworkers can only think of nice sentiments – how she pushed them to want to pass classes, how strong she was and her million dollar smile.

Rasch originally went to Marymount College to study special education and then went back to school at Columbia University for behavioral health studies.  If there was one thing Rasch loved, it was learning.

“She wanted to give back everything she got as a child because we never gave up on her,” her mother Camille Brevetti said.

Before moving to the Outer Banks 11 years ago, Rasch worked at several other schools around the country including two in New York, two in New Jersey, one in Virginia and two in North Carolina. Eight years ago, Rasch began her career at Manteo High School.

But life took a turn when Rasch was diagnosed with colon cancer four and a half years ago.

Instead of shutting down and looking on the down side of things, Rasch never lost sight of her ambitions and goals.

“If there’s one thing I want people to remember it’s her positive attitude,” her mom said. “She never gave up. She never stopped being a student herself, she loved teaching she lived, breathed, and ate teaching”

In fact, in the midst of her battle with cancer, Rasch returned to school. In 2012, she was accepted as a student at Seton Hall University and began doctoral studies in education administration and leadership.

Unfortunately, Rasch passed away Nov. 21, 2015. To co-workers she was a mentor and friend, to students she was a helping hand and a cheerleader, and to everyone at school she was a brave smiling face.

“When ever you would ask her how she felt, even on her worst and most painful days, she’d turn around and say fabulous, and no matter what she always was and will be fabulous,” said Lauren Nieman, a fellow exceptional children teacher.

To students at MHS, Rasch was a role model.

“Mrs. Rasch had nothing but positivity in her life and always tried to showed others how to be positive and happy,” sophomore Nick Harris said.

Rasch was her students’ biggest fan, a driving force to help them achieve goals.

“Without her, I probably wouldn’t be graduating high school next year,” junior Katelyn Medlin said. “She helped me through some of my toughest times. She was one of the only teachers who understood. She meant so much to me.”

When it came down to it Rasch was a mentor and a caring figure.

“Even though I’m older than she was, I never stopped learning things from her,” said Jean Overton, an assistant with the exceptional children’s department. “She always smiled and loved those kids so much.”

She was even described as a mother figure by one student. “She never gave up on me. Even when I thought I was giving up on myself.”

Rasch always made it a point to show others the good she saw in them and was always an encouraging force that pushed them to do what they love.

“She gave me a notebook because she knew how much I loved to write,” Medlin said. “It made me realize that my writing really could be published one day, it. No matter how hard things got Mrs. Rasch always smiled, always pushed, and always loved. “

Rasch’s memory will continue to live on in the hearts of many students and teachers here at MHS.

“Her memory will always hold a part of my heart,” said Susan Kyger, a fellow exceptional children teacher. “I’m so glad the last thing I said to her was I loved her. It’ll always be my favorite memory, because she knew that I loved her and wanted her to relax.”