DENVER, N.C. — Friends and coworkers of a beloved Lincoln County teacher who died from COVID-19 gathered for a candlelight vigil in his honor Wednesday night.
Jamie Seitz coached golf and basketball and was a physical education teacher at Lincoln Charter School in Denver for more than a decade. Seitz died Sunday after he was hospitalized for the coronavirus.
"The man's heart was as big as all outdoors," said Joshua Williams, who taught physical education alongside Seitz. "Every time you saw him, it was a smile on his face and he had good words."
Wednesday's vigil was held at Lincoln Charter's Denver campus. The service was broadcasted over the radio as guests were being asked to stay in their cars for social distancing.
One teacher who spoke about Seitz said it's hard to believe he's really gone.
“I had the privilege to teach both of his kids who are amazing,” said Trisha Amos. "He just had this gift of making every kid feel loved and accepted and special.”
Bradley Gabriel, the head basketball coach, said Seitz taught the kids a lot before his passing.
“What's most important, what I think our kids got from him is the life lessons that he left with our kids ya know," Gabriel said.
Seitz's COVID-19 diagnosis came around the same time Lincoln Charter School's Denver campus experienced a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases. The school board voted on Dec. 11 to move all classes online until at least Jan. 11.
"Thanksgiving break, traveling, seeing family, get-togethers, etc., is a key factor in many of the positives that we're seeing," said Jonathan Bryant, chief administrator of Lincoln Charter School.
"You don't replace a Jamie Seitz," Williams said. "You hope you can find someone to fill a spot, but you can never replace Jamie Seitz."