HOUSTON — Students at J. Frank Dobie High School are mourning the loss of their beloved teacher, 45-year-old Melissa Gutierrez. But her students say she was more than just a teacher.
"She loved everybody. Everybody that was around her felt love for her. A love beyond what a teacher should normally do," said Noah Torres, a senior at J. Frank Dobie High School.
Mrs. Gutierrez taught family consumer science at Dobie High school for 11 years. She actually graduated from Dobie in 1993. And she loved being a part of the school.
"That was her passion to be an educator, that was her calling. Even outside of school she was still trying to teach," said Joanna Gutierrez, Mrs. Gutierrez's daughter.
But on Dec. 29, 2020, she tested positive for COVID-19. Her daughters said they were shocked, because she was always very careful.
"My mom was the last person that we thought would have ever got it, because she was so prepared and cautious," Joanna Gutierrez said. "Not any time she (wouldn't) have worn her mask."
Her family said Mrs. Gutierrez had no underlying health conditions. They say she was intubated a week ago, but her lungs were just having a hard time. She died Tuesday.
"I was just in shock. There are no words to say. She was just a light in our life. Hard to imagine a person like that just gone," said Kristen Barba, a Dobie High School senior.
Even though her classroom is now empty, Mrs. Gutierrez leaves hearts full of love and memories and one last lesson for all of her kids.
"She would have wanted for everyone to be prepared, wear your mask, take it seriously and take care of each other," Joanna Gutierrez said.