In the hallways of Brassfield Road Elementary School, fourth-grade teacher Allison Arledge was known for her love of children and commitment to teaching.
She searched for ways to challenge her students but also to sprinkle bits of fun throughout their day, with stories about her beloved dog, Bear, and activities such as a Grinch party featuring green punch and popcorn.
“Allison was vivacious and energetic and always had a smile on her face,” said Brassfield principal Elizabeth MacWilliams.
Arledge died unexpectedly earlier this month of a medical complication. She was 33.
Arledge was originally from Texas, graduated from N.C. State University and began teaching at Brassfield in 2005. She is survived by her parents and a brother.
Maria Bundros, a room parent for Arledge in 2008-09, remembers a day early that year when a beaming Arledge told her it was going to be a great year.
“I will fall in love with these kids, because I fall in love with all of my kids,” she said.
On Sunday afternoon, about 200 members of the Brassfield community and Arledge’s friends and family gathered outside at the school for a celebration of her life, with lemonade and cupcakes, bunches of balloons in her favorite colors and a group of friendly golden retrievers in honor of the dogs she loved so much.
Shelli Merritt, a room parent for Arledge’s class this year, said the day was an opportunity for the children she treasured to say goodbye.
“Ms. Arledge was my favorite teacher. She was funny and nice,” and “I loved Ms. Arledge!” students wrote in cards the PTA gave to her family.
“I never got to tell her this, but I loved her with all of my heart. She was my BFF,” wrote one student.
Merritt said she’s anxious to see what the next few days bring for the students, but she hopes they will be able to remember Arledge’s commitment to fun and learning.
“The next few days will be tough, but I think they’ll bond together. We told them, ‘Just go in there and make her proud,’ ” she said.