After the recent passing of their beloved English teacher Leslie Spanko on Thursday, East Northport Middle School students and community members banded together to memorialize her in a way fit for a reading teacher – in a book.
In an outpouring of emotion and support from parents, teachers and students, the community petitioned to have one of her favorite authors, Tim Green, name a character in one of his upcoming books after her.
Green, a former National Football League player turned author, was holding a Facebook contest for his readers to have one of his characters named after them. Within two days, more than a thousand votes were cast for Spanko, who worked in the school district for 40 years, making her the clear winner.
“Leslie has inspired an entire town and I don't think she can be beaten,” Green wrote on his Facebook page.
On Monday, students and staff of East Northport Middle School will be wearing red to honor Spanko’s memory.
“The Northport-East Northport School community mourns the tragic death of East Northport Middle School English teacher Leslie Spanko. Ms. Spanko's passion for reading, love of teaching, and thirst for knowledge was contagious. Her dedication and kind spirit will continue to live on in our hearts. The students and staff of East Northport Middle School will honor her memory by wearing red on Monday, December 16, 2013. They invite our entire school community to join them,” Superintendent Marylou McDermott, wrote on the district’s website.Green, who had visited the school two weeks ago, said that the contest’s runner-up will also have a character named after him or her.