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Teacher honored for service to district, community passes away after battling cancer

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2021 at 11:20 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Batesville teacher was remembered Friday as a selfless, kind person who helped students and people in the Independence County town for many years.

Jeanne Roepcke, who worked as a teacher and EAST Facilitator at the district for 25 years, died after a battle with cancer, school officials said.

Officials said Roepcke also made sure she helped anyone who needed it.

“Samuel Rogers said, ‘To know her is was to love her,’ and if you knew Jeanne you knew the light that she projected and the love she shared for all who called her a friend,” school officials said in a statement. “She will forever be remembered for the kindness and encouragement she gave, her contagious laughter, the connection she shared with her students, and her heart of servitude.”

In addition to working with EAST, Roepcke was also active with Leadership Batesville and Leadership Arkansas.

The Batesville School District held its kickoff breakfast in August to unwind before another stressful school year. But, they also honored Roecpke as the district’s Teacher of the Year.

Born and raised a Batesville Pioneer, Roepcke has given her life to teach and inspire thousands.

“I am so blessed because my classroom allows the students to do the things that they love and dig into their passions,” Roepcke said in August.

In addition to recognizing her with its Teacher of the Year award, she also received a trophy and a $500 prize among other rewards.

“It was quite a surprise when I did hear, and how humbling it is,” Roepcke said at the time. “Looking out across the Batesville School District and seeing all those people I taught with and loved for 25 years, and just knowing they’re all there to support me and I want to be there to support them.”

She continued to teach even through her battle with cancer, which was diagnosed in May.

“Everybody in there has been praying for me and been lifting me up so that I can face what I need to face,” Roepcke said. “Not only in the classroom but also in my personal life.”

Though there are plenty of great teachers in Batesville, every one of them agreed that Roepcke was deserving of the honor.

“What I’ve known of Jeanne Roeckpe for my entire life, is that she is that person who exhibits service before self,” said Lori Campbell, Roeckpe’s co-facilitator in the school’s EAST program.

A large part of the decision to award Roepcke was for her work during the pandemic, where she helped deliver food and meet the needs of the community, all while teaching summer school.

School officials said they plan to have counselors available to help students and staff during their time of grief.

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