Longtime Park High School staffer Rita Ruiz dies
Park High School paraprofessional staffer Rita Ruiz has died, Principal Kerry Timmerman announced Monday morning.
Ruiz "passed away unexpectedly on Saturday afternoon," Timmerman wrote in an email to the Park community.
Ruiz was a familiar face in the Cottage Grove school, where she served as hall monitor and greeter for 13 years. She's been with District 833 since 1997.
Ruiz would begin her day at Park with the students at 8:15 a.m. and was present throughout the halls during the school day, Timmerman said. He met with Ruiz's family Monday afternoon and said funeral arrangements are still pending.
Support staff is available at the high school for grieving faculty and students.
"Rita was a real staple and fixture here at our school," Timmerman said. "She is going to be greatly missed. There is no doubt about that."
Park students have started a Facebook tribute site to remember Ruiz, with many thanking her for being a friend and sharing their favorite memories of the longtime high school staffer.
To view the messages of support, visit the page.
Check back for updates.