Keystone Oaks teachers, administrators and students returned to school after the holiday break without a member of the school community.
Math teacher Kaitlin Yasko said the mood in the school was somber Tuesday, but the students and teachers were working to move forward and remember Armitage’s always-positive attitude.
“I think he was an inspiration to every individual in this building,” Yasko said. “He was a man who could reach any student. I think that’s something that will really resound with the kids as part of his legacy.”
Pride was a common theme in Armitage’s classroom, she said, as he taught his students to be proud of their work and proud of their accomplishments. High school football coach Nick Kamberis said Armitage was the same on the field.
“His top priority was teaching kids about life,” Kamberis said. “He was always very instrumental in what they did on and off the field.”
Kamberis and Yasko said that even as he went through treatment, Armitage always remained positive.
When Kamberis needed help painting his house, the coach said Armitage was the first to volunteer. Yasko said that when she, and later other teachers, were new to the district, Armitage was an encouraging and inspirational influence.
She and Kamberis said they planned to work—on and off the field—to keep Armitage’s positive attitude going.
“The irony was, with everything he was going through in his personal life, he never brought it into the building,” Yasko said. “Almost to the point that we wish he would have, so we could have been as supportive to him as he was for us.”
Yasko said a memorial project is in the works, but plans have not been finalized yet.
Armitage is survived by his wife, Lauren, and son, Kingston David. He is the second Keystone Oaks teacher to die of an illness this school year. Shawn O’Donnell, a high school social studies teacher and Cranberry Community Uniting People beneficiary, died of cancer in November.