Entire school, former students mourn loss of False River Academy instructor

NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - Edith Atkinson, 66, wore just about every hat she could in her 30 plus year career at False River Academy. In fact, people at the school describe her as their "everything."

Atkinson was killed when her husband accidentally pinned his wife between a school bus and his truck while backing up Monday afternoon in the school's parking lot.

On Tuesday, it was a different atmosphere at False River Academy, with many tears, hugs, and black ribbons all around the school. "It's just a tragedy," said former student, Jeanne Langlois.

"That was just utter shock," said another former student, Rochelle Chapman.

"Kind of a kick to the gut," said former student, Arthur Ewing.

Langlois, Chapman, and Ewing are just some of Atkinson's former students. She started working at the school in 1984, so for more than 30 years, she touched countless lives. "She was my teacher. She was my chemistry teacher," said Chapman.

"She just meant so much to this particular place and this community and it's not just limited here. She taught driver's education to all the students in Pointe Coupee Parish," said Langlois.

Atkinson held many different roles during her time at False River Academy. She did everything from teach science to drive the bus. Atkinson's job was more than just a job; the students and False River Academy were her family and life.

Her former students describe her as someone who was one of a kind, but tough as nails. She loved living life to the max, be it traveling with her coworkers, and daughter, to zip-lining and even riding. She was full of life, which is why the students cannot believe a part of their family is now gone.

"It's just such a small school and everyone knows everyone from 12th grade down to pre-K and we just have a bond and a relationship with one another," said Langlois.

"I can still walk down the hallways and recognize 80 percent of the teachers that are here, so it's a family and I think it kind of catches you off guard when you don't have someone who's such a big part of that family," said Ewing.

The entire staff at False River Academy says Atkinson's absence will definitely be felt because of the impact she had.

In fact, Chapman is a social worker and was at the school Tuesday just because she knew it would be a tough day for everyone. "You'll always have your favorite teachers and stuff and then you have teachers who definitely leave a mark and she has left her mark for sure," said Chapman.

The family has asked in lieu of flowers, to please make donations to False River Academy or St. Jude because of her love for those organizations.

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