By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- When a teacher can influence students and her own peers, even after she is gone, that can truly be counted as a legacy.
Last week, the students and faculty of Suncoast School donated more than 100 pounds of pet food to the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County's pet food bank in memory of Nada Molter, a third and fourth grade language arts teacher at the private school who died this past summer.
Candee Manwaring, school administrator, said Mrs. Molter taught at Suncoast School for 18- years and her love of animals was well known to her students and their families.
"She had been teaching here for so long that she had almost started teaching to the second generation because her first students are sending their children to our school now," Ms. Manwaring said.
"Of all the things that the children remember, it was that she was a superb storyteller and her love for animals," she said.
Since the beginning of the school year, the students, families and staff have been collecting the pet food and other pet basics, such as leashes and collars, as well as collecting change to donate, Ms. Manwaring said.
The school collected $125 in cash donations, which will be used at the animal shelter and contribute to an engraved memorial brick at the shelter's volunteer pavilion, said Janet Winikoff, education director for the shelter.
The animal shelter's pet food bank assistance program was established to help pets and their families stay together during difficult economic and financial times. The program offers assistance to those families struggling to feed their pets by providing a month's supply of pet food for a three-month period.
Applicants for the pet food bank are required to submit information regarding their income, types of public assistance and family size.
Schools and other organizations do make donations to the animal shelter from time to time, but this time was different, Ms. Winikoff said.
"What made this one special was the fact that they all came together to honor Mrs. Molter. I could tell she was very loved by her students and colleagues," she said.