Teacher who died day after graduation ceremony remembered(天国の先生に届け 同僚らが文集作製)

A group photo of Ikuko Hidaka, center, and her homeroom students taken in the high school’s infirmary on graduation day.(保健室で最後のホームルームに臨んだ日高さん(中央)と担任した生徒)

 Former colleagues and students of a teacher who died the day after the graduation ceremony at a high school in Fukushima City have expressed their gratitude to her by putting together a collection of essays and a photo album from the ceremony and other school events.
 Ikuko Hidaka, who died of cancer at 60 on March 2, attended the graduation ceremony at Fukushima Higashi High School despite her grave condition.


 On April 11, Hidaka's former colleagues visited her house in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, to present the album to her husband, Hiroshi, 66, a former principal of Soma High School in the prefecture.
 "She used her last ounce of strength to attend the graduation ceremony after a long fight with cancer," Hiroshi said tearfully as he held the collection to his chest. "My wife really fought the good fight."


 According to her husband, Hidaka was diagnosed with cancer about 20 years ago, and continued teaching while fighting the disease. Her cancer worsened in the summer of last year just as she was about to reach retirement age, and she started a regimen of anti-cancer drugs. However, Hidaka put on a brave face in front of the 40 third-year students of Class No. 7 and the rest of the school to keep them from noticing her struggle.
 Hidaka made it to the gradation ceremony on March 1, but was in such bad condition from that morning, she had to lean against the wall to walk down the school hallway. It took all of her will and energy.


 At the ceremony, Hidaka led her students into the venue and managed to read out all of their names without incident, sending them off to the next stage of their lives. Afterwards, she conducted a final homeroom in the school's infirmary, where she informed the students that she was suffering from cancer.
 After the students had gone home, Hidaka vomited blood and was taken to a hospital. She passed away in the afternoon the following day.


 Three teachers who were colleagues of Hidaka's at Fukushima Higashi until March this year -- Kyoko Shibukawa, 52, now at Motomiya High School; and Akiko Saito, 52, and Shigeko Coombs, 46, both at Hobara High School -- felt the need to inform her family of her life as a teacher. They took the initiative to collect photos, messages and other memories from former students and their parents and guardians.
 "All I can do is to thank the teachers," Hiroshi Hidaka said. "Through the collections of photos and messages, I could learn about my wife's daily life at Fukushima Higashi High School that I had never known."

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2021年4月13日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】