The halls of Lebanon High are full of daily school activity. But on this Tuesday, there is someone missing.
"Her soft heart was for that child who everyone is throwing up their hands and saying I don't know what to do with," Principal Nan Parsons said.
Computer technology teacher Natalie Perriello was murdered last week at her home in Grantham. Her husband is charged. The dedicated educator spent 15 years teaching at Mascoma School District before switching to Lebanon for the past four.
"You often hear teachers are outstanding but it is the truth," Parsons said. "I nominated Natalie for New Hampshire Teacher of the Year."
Boxes of stuffed animals fill the front entryway of the high school. They are being collected in the teacher's memory and will be donated to organization that deals with children in crisis. Natalie Perriello was also the mother of four. But colleagues say she treated her hundreds of student over the years like her own kids. It's only fitting that students are planning and taking part in all aspects of her funeral.
"The kids are really taking on all of this as a tribute to Natalie, but it's what Natalie would have wanted," Parsons said. "It doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to be from the kids."
A school-organized trust fund is being set up for Natalie Perriello's kids. Also, an annual scholarship will be awarded in her name. For the next four years, two students-- one at Mascoma and one at Lebanon-- will reap the benefits.
"The focus and the criteria we are presently developing, but it will be around that child who might be overlooked," Parsons said.
For the students who knew her, Natalie Perriello will never be replaced.
"Anything you said to Ms. Perriello, she would find a way to understand. And if she didn't understand, she would talk to you until she did understand," said Ashley Ellis, a senior.
"I think she would just want all of her students to really put their best foot forward and know that nothing is stopping you besides yourself. And if you want it, then you can achieve it," said Lindsay Gray, a senior.
A lasting legacy for so many Upper Valley students.
Calling Hours will be this Friday, May 4, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Ricker Funeral Home in Lebanon, N.H. The funeral will take place Sat., May 5, at 10 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lebanon, N.H.
To donate to Natalie Perriello Memorial Scholarship Fund:
Lebanon High School 195 Hanover St. Lebanon, N.H. 03766 ATTN: Nan Parsons
Mascoma School District P.O. Box 789 Enfield, N.H. ATTN: Business Manager
To donate to the trust fund for the Perriello children:
Lake Sunapee Bank 106 Hanover St. Lebanon, N.H. 03766
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