Remembering Southside Elementary's Teacher of the Year: Melissa - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Remembering Southside Elementary's Teacher of the Year: Melissa Rogers

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Augusta, GA -

Students and staff remembered a local school teacher who died this week in her sleep.

Melissa Rogers taught 3rd grade at Southside Elementary School.

Red and black balloons filled the skies outside Southside Elementary school for the former Georgia Bulldog fan, Melissa Rogers.

"I knew the students loved Ms. Rogers and I thought it was important for them to express their love. The balloon release was one way for them to express themselves," said school principal Tonya Bradburn.

Inside the school, there was a touching tribute to the 3rd grade teacher with songs, dances and speeches.

"It has been a difficult week. We've come together. We made the ceremony happen. We're going to make it through this difficult time," said Bradburn.

"Just trying to hold up and keep my strength. The hardest part is not seeing her at the door. The kids are so used to at the door and her saying ‘good morning' and that's when it hits them," said teacher Stacey Miller-Lofton.

Those who knew Rogers say she was full of life and made the hour commute to be with her students – whom she considered extended family.

"Ms. Rogers was a cute, red head, goofy and fun loving teacher.

Her personality just came out in everything she did.

There was nothing that I couldn't ask her that she wouldn't do for Southside and the students," said Bradburn.

Now – students and staff have to cope without last year's "Teacher of the Year" – a title that comes as no surprise to those who knew Melissa Rogers.

"It's a difficult time not only for me but the students at Southside. Ms. Rogers was an awesome 3rd grade teacher," said Bradburn.

Melissa Rogers was in her early 30's and just gave birth to twins 4 months back. There's still no word on how she died earlier this week.

Richmond County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson also spoke at the ceremony.

There has been a fund set up for Rogers' 4-month-old twins in the wake of her unexpected death.

Memorials may be made to the Ava & Asher Memorial Fund c/o First Bank, 3527 Wheeler Road, Augusta, GA 30909.

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