LAVEEN, AZ — Thousands of students, teachers, and parents gathered Wednesday to remember a pillar in the community.
Lisa Sandomir was the principal at Laveen's M.C. Cash Elementary for 16 years.
She was tragically killed in a crash last week when a truck smashed into two cars near 75th Avenue and Broadway.
"It's been a very down week. It's hard to believe," said Jeremy Wescott, a sixth-grade math teacher at M.C. Cash.
"Everybody just started crying," said 5th grader, Daisy Chavez.
"It's hard turning the corner in the office, knowing you're going to see her office and she's not there. I've had a hard time," said Wescott.
Wescott worked with Sandomir for a dozen years.
"She's the main reason I am here. I've had opportunities to leave but I just loved working for her and kept coming back," he said.
Monica Lomeli also came back after being one of Ms. Sandomir's students.
"She inspired me to be a teacher because she pulled me out of my specials and I became a teacher's assistant," said Lomeli. "Now I'm here again, being a teacher, and following in Miss Sandomir's footsteps."
During her time as a teacher, then 16 years as a principal, Ms. Sandomir impacted so many lives.
"She was very caring," said Nathaniel Rodriguez, a student.
"Lisa never gave up on people. No matter who you were Lisa saw your potential for success and she would make it happen," said Laveen Schools Superintendent Jeff Sprout.
"She was an amazing person. She was there when you needed her," said Monica Lomeli.
"This neighbor is known to have gang affiliation. She created this school environment as a safe haven for kids," said Jessica Orosco.
"The loss is incredible but we have been blessed with her investment in us," said Superintendent Sprout. "This entire area has been transformed because of her leadership."