A thick fog wasn’t the only cloud over North Branch as school started today. During first hour at North Branch Middle School, students learned that grief counseling would be available should anyone need to talk about the passing of beloved 6th-grade teacher Michael Lizotte.
The school district reports that six local pastors came to the middle school this morning .
Lizotte, 45, passed away in his sleep the night of Thursday, Aug. 30. Students who were in Mr. Lizotte’s class last year as well as students who were to have him for a teacher this year were notified of his death through a personal phone call Friday.
In addition, letters were sent home to all middle school and high school families, according to Patrick Tepoorten, district community relations coordinator.
Mr. Lizotte had shared some of his final moments meeting with the students he would have taught this year at the Open House last Thursday evening.
Many have commented about the kind man he was, from students and co-workers, to staff at the middle school.
The general consensus was “he was such an awesome guy.”
Hundreds of people attended his funeral Monday.
Superintendent Deb Henton shared these thoughts: “Whenever I hear anyone talk about Mike they immediately mention his deep faith, his love for family, his joy in participating in many activities including hockey and tennis, and his belief in establishing quality relationships. We saw evidence each and every day that Mike was a great person. The impact he had on so many during his short life is stunning. We will do our best to honor all that he lived for and we will miss him greatly.”
Condolences left at the Grandstrand Funeral Home website included these words:
“An amazing teacher, great coach and a good family man. He was and will always be my favorite teacher. So many kids, adults and fellow work colleagues will remember him as the guy who always brought a fun and happy spirit to North Branch schools.”
“He was a kind, caring, genuine, teacher and co-worker.”
“He was awesome teacher, he will be missed. He always had [a] great sense of humor and smile.”
“He was a great coach and leader who always cared about his players.”
Finally, one person noted, “This community has lost a great man. May you find comfort in knowing the lessons he shared with others about sports, life, and faith will live on in all those he touched.”
A memorial fund has been established for his family:
The Mike Lizotte Memorial Fund
P.O Box 606
Chisago City, MN 55013-9900