KINGS MILLS, Ohio — Kings Local School District is mourning the sudden loss of a long-time teacher.
Jorge Gonzalez died Monday at 56 years old. He was the Spanish teacher at Kings High School.
Dawn Gould, the school district's community relations coordinator, said Gonzalez contracted COVID-19. Gonzalez was vaccinated, according to Gould.
Gonzalez was loved by many at the school and in the community.
"I mean just that he will be so missed," said Rhonda Allen-Harmon, ESL Teacher at Kings High School. "And to me, Kings high school without Jorge just doesn't exist, and it's going to take a long time for us to heal"
Gould shared that Gonzalez said at a recent board meeting that "'educators don't teach for the income, they teach for the outcome,'" Gould said.
Gonzalez's outcome is the lasting impact he's made through his 34 years of teaching.
"We are hearing from students from 20 years ago, his current students, staff members, retired staff members. He's made a difference here and it's a huge loss for our district," Gould said.
"I mean, without a doubt, Jorge's impact reaches beyond the classroom," Allen-Harmon said. "He was in charge of so many activities that are essential to our school and the communities, you know, diversity and inclusion, and seeing to it that our students from different backgrounds, with different identities, had a voice and were seen and were heard."
Gonzalez wanted to be able to create a scholarship for Kings students. You can make a donation toward the "Jorge Gonzalez Memorial Scholarship Fund" at any Fifth Third Bank.
Gonzalez is survived by his wife, who is a teacher in the district, and his daughter, who is a junior at Kings High School. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family. You can find that here.
Deaths among people who are vaccinated remain rare, but older adults and those with compromised immune systems remain at risk.
Among 187 million Americans who are fully vaccinated, the CDC reports just over 7,000 deaths, 85 percent of which were people 65 years or older.