Former students are going above and beyond for a former Connecticut teacher who did the same for them.
Granby Middle School Teacher Joseph Maino Jr. passed away in Utah and police there are having trouble getting in touch with relatives.
Now, his former pupils are working to try and locate possible relatives. If it comes to it, they're willing to assume the responsibilities for bringing him home.
“Generations, he made quite an impact on them,” Rachel Falco, who is a former student of Maino said.
“As a mom, you always want someone to love your kids and he was really good at that,” Granby Memorial Middle School teacher Kathy Waddington said.
Maino left his mark on the kids of Granby. Working in the schools for more than three decades, if you grew up here, there's a good chance he taught you.
“He would go meet with students he used to have and just reconnect with them,” Falco said.
Maino forged bonds with hundreds of his students and still kept in touch in retirement. He settled in Utah. But, just last week, word spread, he was ill.
“I am friends with him on Facebook so I got a message that he was sick,” Falco said.
Maino died on Sunday and the shock was felt back home.
“My kids called me and said it's all over social media,” Waddington said. “Did you know that Mr. Maino passed?”
“You just remember him and how great and wonderful he was,” Falco said. “He was a great person.”
Granby Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alan Addley said Maino "will be fondly remembered" as "a dedicated and exceptional middle school math and social studies teacher."
"For thirty-four years he worked his magic in the classroom as one of Granby’s most popular and memorable teachers. Mr. Maino taught, inspired and entertained sixth grade students with his passion for travel, technology, time capsules and riding every wooden roller coaster in America! Mr. Maino was a unique and skilled teacher who captured students’ hearts and minds. The Granby Public Schools expresses its gratitude for Mr. Maino’s many contributions to the school system and extends its condolences on the announcement of his passing," Addley said in a statement on Friday.
According to social media posts, officials in Utah are having trouble getting in touch with any relatives back in Connecticut. So, his students are now trying to complete one last task for their beloved teacher.
“Some former students are acting as that role and connecting with the police department in Utah where he lived to help out where they can,” Falco said.
If no one can be found, students said they're willing to do what it takes to bring him back home. Teachers said he set a high bar.
“It's kind of nice as a teacher to know that maybe someone likes you some day to do that kind of stuff for you,” Waddington said.
If anyone knows a relative of Maino, they are urged to contact officials in Hurricane, Utah.
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