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WHS holds memorial service for Sommer

A large display in the Woodbury High School cafeteria paid tribute to the late Andy Sommer. See the attached photo gallery for more images from the service. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker

Tears, laughs and a lighthearted dance tribute marked a ceremony held Thursday, Jan. 3, in honor of Andy Sommer, a Woodbury High School Spanish teacher who died in December.

Audience members nearly filled the school's auditorium, where speakers shared memories of Sommer, who died Dec. 19 following a battle with esophageal cancer.

Speakers included WHS social studies teacher Hank Freeman, who, in a playful tribute, told audience members she was able to connect with Sommer by going to her "happy place."

"Tell the kids to laugh," Freeman said she believed Sommer would say. "Hank, tell them that all is well."

The memorial service, which was broadcast through Skype to Sommer's family members in California, included several speeches from current and former students.

"This is a tribute that you would have wanted," one current WHS student said.

Yet the perhaps the most memorable presentation came from Class of 2012 graduate Kanad Gupta, who decided to pay tribute to Sommer with lighthearted dance number. As music played, he was joined onstage by current and former students, while the crowd joined in on the dance.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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