Kennedy Torch

Kennedy Torch

As a Family, We Grieve Together

Rick+Nees+helping+students%2C+Lexi+Aarhus+jr.%2C+Reya+Sands+sr.%2C+and+Lindsay+Guffey+sr.%2C+with+geometry.+
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As a Family, We Grieve Together

Rick Nees helping students, Lexi Aarhus jr., Reya Sands sr., and Lindsay Guffey sr., with geometry.

Rick Nees helping students, Lexi Aarhus jr., Reya Sands sr., and Lindsay Guffey sr., with geometry.

Joe Photo

Rick Nees helping students, Lexi Aarhus jr., Reya Sands sr., and Lindsay Guffey sr., with geometry.

Joe Photo

Joe Photo

Rick Nees helping students, Lexi Aarhus jr., Reya Sands sr., and Lindsay Guffey sr., with geometry.

Haylee Brewer, Writer

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In devastating news, we lost one of our own. Kennedy mathematics teacher, Rick Nees has passed away from a tragic car collision in Fort Collins, Colorado on Thanksgiving morning. When students returned to school on Nov. 26., many were upset and grieving. Nees had a large impact on students, he will be missed and remembered for all the great things he did and for his personality which made students joyful.

“I miss him because he was someone you could always talk to,” Kaitlyn Biando, so., said. “To me, he was like a father figure or a crazy uncle. I miss not having a safe place, his room was always my safe place to go.”

Nees was an outstanding and spirited man. Although not all Kennedy students had him as a teacher, many still knew him and are heartbroken. Every student will deal with the loss in different ways. In the honor of Nees, there is an open mic event for students to express their memories, this Saturday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m. at Kennedy.

“I don’t know how to deal with it, when I walk into his classroom I start shaking and everything goes numb because I know he’s gone,” Biando said.

Students weren’t the only people who were feeling hurt, teachers and staff were devastated as well. Nees has been a teacher at Kennedy since Aug. 25, 2005. He has not only been a part of the Cougar family, but he changed many lives and he met many other teachers and became close with most of them.

“His impact on kids is something you just noticed, and it just magnified after an event like this,” Principal Jason Kline said. “I walked by his classroom one day and I heard him playing his guitar and singing. That is something that makes our school special, when I was teaching you didn’t catch me singing to my kids, but he did things differently, like I loved it, and everyone liked him. Mr. Nees, he got kids who didn’t like math, to actually like it and he just connected to kids like that.”

As a past student in Mr. Nees’ class, it’s very heartbreaking for me to lose his ways of teaching. The culture of his classroom was amazing. I remember he would tell silly jokes about math to help us remember the strategy, and he always did these angle puzzles that we loved. One thing I don’t think students understood was his cell phone hotel, as he assigned a number and we each put our cell phone in a drawer with your number at the beginning of class. After class, he called a number to get the cell phone back. That is one thing I appreciated because cell phones distract students a lot and the activity gave us no choice but to stay focused on what he was teaching.

Mr. Nees was a tremendous mathematics teacher for me. He taught in a way that I could understand. Math is a hard subject for many, but when Nees was in front of our class and teaching, he made math easier and understandable.

Japanese teacher Dan Carolin was a close friend to Nees.

“Kennedy won’t be the same without him, I miss him. He did so much beyond teaching math and he was constantly reaching out to kids. Whenever I asked him for a favor, he said yes with no hesitation and he did it with a smile. He will be missed,” Carolin said.

As it is very sad to see this man gone. He did great things with his life and we are very proud of him. May he rest in peace, while hoping his family recovers from this tragedy.

 

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Haylee Brewer, Writer

Hi, I'm Haylee and I absolutely love writing and taking photos. I mostly take photos outside of nature and animals etc. I also love animals, whether it's...

1 Comment

One Response to “As a Family, We Grieve Together”

  1. Louis Nees V on November 30th, 2018 6:07 pm

    Rick Nees is my uncle and to be honest probably one of my favorite family members. Don’t tell the rest of them I said that though. Our whole family lives all over the states and Rick seemed to be the glue that kept us together. Partly because he literally drove all over the country to see us which as a kid was really cool because we wouldn’t have a specific flight arrival we would be waiting for, he would just kind of roll up.

    He always spoke of his students very highly. He loved teaching and I believe a huge part of that had to do with how great his students and colleagues are. It has been very special and humbling seeing all of the comments everyone has been leaving. I can’t seem to find the words to describe how great it feels to be related to someone that has had such an impact on people’s lives.

    I am really sorry I cannot be there this Saturday and hope everyone has a great time rocking out because he would not have it any other way. Please don’t be sad! You know that would not fly with him.

    Thank you sooo much Kennedy High School for being such an enormous part of my uncle’s life and for making teaching so so so much more than just a job for him.

    GO COUGARS!!

    -Louis Nees V

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