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Oshkosh teacher killed in Iraq

Sgt. Andrew Wallace, a very popular physical education teacher at Emmeline Cook Elementary School in Oshkosh, was killed Monday (September 26, 2005) in Iraq.

"He was an outstanding individual ... a kind, wonderful man," said 3rd-grade teacher and colleague Tracy Zangl.

In an Associated Press report, Zangl said Wallace often gave up his lunch hours to oversee a sport stacking club in which students stack cups in various patterns as quickly as possible. "He loved seeing them shine. He was so into their whole wellness instead of just being an athlete," Zangl said. "He was just phenomenal."

Wallace, who was a WEAC member, also was an assistant wrestling coach and physical education teacher for special education students at Oshkosh North High School.

Wallace, 25, was a native of Ripon. He served with the Appleton-based 2nd Battalion of the 127th Infantry Regiment. At Emmeline Cook School, one classroom was designated each month to collect items for care packages to be sent to Wallace and his unit.

Wallace was one of three soldiers killed in a roadside bombing. Counselors were sent to the Oshkosh schools to talk with staff members and students.

"His loss is going to be deeply felt by everyone," said Edie Millar, the Parent Teacher Organization president at Cook. "We're all feeling really sad."

The Appleton Post-Crescent quoted Oshkosh North senior Nick Wolff, a member of the wrestling team, as saying Wallace was "easy-going and fun to be around."

“He was there for us all of the time and whenever we had a problem we could go to him," Wolff said. “He taught us to respect everybody no matter what happened to us.”

Also from the Post-Crescent:

Lucas Seelow, a senior at North and a member of the wrestling team, said Wallace put a smile on the faces of wrestlers.

“He liked the sport and enjoyed being out there with us,” Seelow said. “He was at school at 6:30 each morning to help anyone who wanted to lift weights and to give his support.”

Gary Westerman, former head wrestling coach at Oshkosh North, said Wallace’s enthusiasm was contagious.

“Andrew was the ultimate kid at heart. He was never in a bad mood and always smiling and had positive things to say,” said Westerman, who is a physical education teacher at a Kimberly middle school. “He was an all-around great guy and a great friend.”

Westerman said Wallace was proud to be in the military and often talked about it. He said Wallace and his wife had just purchased a house in Oshkosh.

“He was real excited about that,” Westerman said. “He couldn’t wait to have me over.”

Phil Marshall, principal at Emmeline Cook Elementary School, said Wallace kept in contact with school staff via a Web site.

“He would take pictures of all the missions he was on and would post them on the Web site so we could get a look at what was going on,” Marshall said. “He sent e-mails to staff updating what was happening in Iraq. It was really a comfort to us to have contact with him on a regular basis.”

Posted September 27, 2005; Updated September 29, 2005

Education News