The Marathon High School community lost one of its best on April 4 with the sudden and unexpected passing of English teacher Rebecca Thacker. Known as the school’s authority on all things Disney and described as “a mother” by many of her students, her impact on MHS far exceeded the grades and lessons she taught in the classroom.

“Ms. Thacker has been an integral part of our staff for seven years, particularly with juniors and seniors who had her for English,” MHS principal Wendy McPherson wrote in an email to students and to families.” Her impact on our school has been widespread and I know her loss will be great. … She will be missed and want to recognize all that she meant to our MHS Dolphin community.”

Upon hearing the tragic news on the morning of April 5, the MHS baseball team had to make a tough decision with an away game against conference rival Palmer Trinity later that day. When head coach Joey Gonzalez gave his team the choice to play or skip the game, the players’ decision was clear.

“We went ahead with the game because the boys wanted to play in his honor,” Gonzalez said.

With a 2-1 win over their conference rivals, the team chose to dedicate the remainder of their season to Thacker’s memory. Three days later, in front of a packed house of nearly 300, the team beat Palmer Trinity again at home – but not without a fitting tribute to their beloved teacher first.

With “RT” spray-painted in the grass behind home plate, the Dolphins individually added flowers to a memorial table dedicated to Thacker before gathering at the pitcher’s mound for a moment of silence. Speeches by McPherson, City Councilman and Assistant Baseball Coach Luis Gonzalez, and School Board Chairman John Dick paid tribute to Thacker’s mark on MHS culture and community.

“In our years as coaches, this is the biggest crowd we’ve ever had on the field,” Joey said. “I know our boys’ emotions were at their peak. But being able to take those emotions and know that the game we were playing was first and foremost for Ms. Thacker and second to put us in a position to be in first place in the conference heading into the playoffs was just awesome.

In light of her passing, Keys Weekly caught up with some of the many students and faculty touched by Rebecca Thacker’s compassion and generous spirit. Here’s what they had to say:

“Last year I was going to her class a lot. I was able to tell her everything that was going on in our group of friends. She was an amazing teacher as well as a friend. The environment she has created was only positive and we never felt judged.With her, I was able to find who and what I wanted to be without worries or worries.

– Senior Sarah Kratzert

“I had Ms. Thacker last year for an AP course, and she certainly knew how to keep her students engaged and welcomed. Although I never engaged with her on a personal level, I knew many students who went to see her just to talk. She was a light to many students here, and we certainly wouldn’t be the same without her. We all love you, Mrs. Thacker.

– Charles Vaughn senior

“My favorite thing about Mrs. Thacker is that she made me feel included and cared about me. She never left me or anyone else out. She will always be my best friend.”

–Andee Richards senior

“Although Ms. Thacker and I weren’t always on the same page because I tend to be a rebellious student, she was always sure to support me. She was one of the most helpful teachers when it came to helping students graduate. She did anything and everything to help her students succeed, even when her help was not always deserved.

– Glenn Hewlett senior

“Some teachers have favourites, but Ms. Thacker was fair and equal to everyone. She paid you even more attention if you fell behind. She made a difference in all of our lives, and certainly in our grades.

– Cameron Wert senior

“Ms. Thacker was a very unique teacher. She connected with her students on a personal level. If there was something that interested you, she probably shared it with you. your personal life, she would be the one to help you because she would listen to you. She was talking about the new Marvel movies and shows that came out, and she was telling us about her mother, her husband, her breakup and where they went. Mrs. Thacker was always the sweetest and most caring. She did many things to help us.

–Senior Calla Jimenez

“Ms. Thacker would notice when we weren’t well, and that’s what we appreciate the most about her. She dressed up for every occasion from Marathon High School and she always had a smile on her face. Ms. Thacker has puts her students before her no matter what. She was the biggest fan of Harry Potter and Disney and never failed to let it be known. She was amazing, she was beautiful and she was so sweet. I know that students, staff and his family will always honor his memory.

–Senior Synthia Robles

“Ms. Thacker was a very spirited teacher. Her classroom was not just a place of learning, but a place of comfort. She overcame several challenges in her life and was open about it, and in return, her students became open with her, she was a resource within the school, someone we all loved and trusted.

–Andrew Weaver senior

“She was the mother of these children at school. Many of them desperately needed this consistency and support in their lives, and she literally bent over backwards for everyone around her. She opened her classroom every day to a lunchtime group who would come hang out and tell stories about life. It was such a family atmosphere every time she was there, and it’s going to be the hardest thing to get used to.

-MHS Baseball Head Coach Joey Gonzalez

“Ms. Thacker was the most generous person with gifts, time, and love. She genuinely cared about everyone in her class and would find something to bond with. For me, that was Texas and Star Wars. She loved Buccees and Whataburger, and we bought each other many gifts from both places. We talked about Star Wars and the shows that came out recently. She was the kind of person you just had to hug and say hello if you saw her, even if it meant talking for 10 minutes when you had places to go. She was the teacher any student would dream of having.”

– senior Rylan Chapa