Sam Rayburn Intermediate celebrates beloved teacher’s legacy after 14 month battle with cancer

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – Sam Rayburn Intermediate teacher Lindy Danford passed away last week after a 14-month battle with cancer. While students, faculty and her family are heartbroken by her passing, Ms. Danford leaves behind a legacy of infectious laughter, radiant smiles, compassion and understanding for her students.

Danford was a mother of three, a wife, a daughter and a loving friend to many, her fellow teachers said. Her passion for teaching and helping others was undeniable, and it can be clearly seen in the students mourning their teacher.

Lanadreia, a sixth-grader at the school, was devastated to find out her favorite teacher was gone.

“I walked out of the classroom and started crying,” the student said. “It reminded me of her smile.”

Ms. Danford taught students to become strong and confident leaders, but Lanadreia said her teacher would go beyond the classroom and count on words of encouragement and life advice.

“She was special. It made me feel good because it was a teacher helping me with things… knowing what I’m going through,” Lanadreia said. “I haven’t been able to say goodbye, but I know I’m going to see her again.”

Becky RyBerg, principal of Sam Rayburn, said Danford students started making cards, small paper flowers, writing vocabulary and decorating her classroom with sweet messages and drawings after learning of her death.

“I don’t think we feel like she’s not there because the kids are still talking about her and people are still talking,” RyBerg said. “She was so powerful it’s hard to imagine she wouldn’t be here with us, or won’t be.”

Both Lanadreia and RyBerg agree that Ms. Danford’s legacy will never be forgotten or replaced at Sam Rayburn Intermediate School.

“I don’t think anyone will ever fill her shoes, no one can ever replace her,” Ryberg said.

Now her students and those who loved her will carry on her legacy of unexpected kindness and overflowing joy, but when they feel like they are losing control or their anger bubbles up, they stop, take a deep breath as she was taught and remember the smiling face that would greet them in the hallway every day.

The high school has set up a GoFundMe to help Danford’s family with funeral expenses.

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