TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — This time of year, high school seniors normally have prom and graduation on their minds. But, for students at Greater New Bedford Vo Tech, their thoughts have been with the family of their beloved teacher George Health.
Heath was one of two people killed earlier this month when a man went on a violent rampage at Silver City Galleria and a Taunton neighborhood. He was out to dinner with his wife Rosemary when Arthur DaRosa entered the Bertucci’s restaurant and attacked a pregnant waitress. Heath intervened and was stabbed in the head while trying to help the woman. The waitress survived. Heath did not.
During a memorial ceremony on the school’s football field Wednesday, students and staffed remembered Heath’s heroic actions. Many of the students wore t-shirts with Heath’s name made to look like the Batman.
“George would be the happiest person. He’d be like ‘this is for me? No way! This is just fantastic’,” said student Jillian Coelho. “He was more than a teacher. He’s someone I’ll never forget. Him teaching me art is something I’ll treasure forever.”
Rosemary Heath released a dove into the air, followed by a flock of birds, in her husband’s memory.
The ceremony – which the seniors paid for with their prom money – also included musical tributes and Heath’s students presented his wife with flowers and a memorial plaque.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hear from someone in the school or one of the students,” Rosemary Heath said. “It’s just great. I’m so happy. The reason that I smile is because of the students in this school.”
The school superintendent said Wednesday’s ceremony will be included in this year’s yearbook and a special memorial page to George Heath will be created for next year’s yearbook.