Always in Our Hearts: Ms. Alisa Smith-Riel

New faculty member of IMSA’s English department, Ms. Alisa Smith-Riel passed away unexpectedly on Friday night, November 8, 2013.

Hailing from the western half of New York, she resided in DeKalb for the past seven years. She worked at IMSA, where she taught two Literary Explorations I classes, and at Elgin Community College, where she taught for two years. This was her first semester at IMSA.

Her favorite part about teaching was the students. “I love interacting with students and hearing what they have to say about literature,” said Ms. Smith-Riel earlier this year. “I really appreciate it when I see the light bulb moments happen when the students understand something, or they have a new idea. Moments like that inspire me.”

Ms. Smith-Riel has in turn inspired many people in the IMSA community. Braving it out until the end, she continued to teach students until the day her sickness overtook her. Although she’s had the illness for many years, the recent effects were very sudden and unexpected.

Those who knew her personally are still struggling to fathom the idea of her absence. An anonymous sophomore says, “I’ll always miss her; she gave me my first experience of IMSA literature.” Her students are currently being taught Literary Explorations I by Mrs. Micklo and Dr. Kotlarczyk. Ms. Alison Smith-Riel also has three children in their teens. They now live with their  father. With the upcoming holiday, IMSA is organizing a fund for her children. There is also a card in Student Life being prepared in her remembrance and it will be presented to her family. Please consider helping her family bear with the loss of a loving mother.

On behalf of the IMSA community, the Acronym extends its condolences to all those suffering the loss of a teacher, mother, wife, and friend.

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