Students and teachers at a school in northeast Minneapolis are grieving after a teacher collapsed and died in front of her class.
Lori Blomme, better known to her students as Ms. Lori, taught at Menlo Park Academy for more than seven years. Students at the alternative high school say Monday started as a regular day.
"In the beginning of the day, she was the same old Lori -- a great smile on her face," said Marshaun Williams, a sophomore in Blomme's class.
However, Williams said Blomme mentioned she felt faint during third hour. She was standing at the board in front of the class when she collapsed. About ten students were in her class at the time, and some ran to other teachers and the principal to get help.
"We didn't know what to do," Williams said. "She just said she was going to faint. We did the best thing we could do and get help."
Students were moved into the school gym while paramedics moved Blomme to the hospital. She died at the age of 40 before her husband could get to her.
"I don't think anyone thought anything was serious," family friend Gloria Tollefson told FOX 9 News. "Her heart just stopped. We don't know why."
Family members say Blomme was fit, went to the doctor regularly and even biked to work across Minneapolis. The only unusual start to her day was another search before school because her family dog ran away last week.
"It's just heart-wrenching," Tollefson said. "The little girls were going door to door and passing out flyers and saying, 'If you have my dog, please give us a call.'"
Blomme was so much more than a teacher. She was also a wife and mother of 8-year-old and 6-year-old daughters. Family members say she was passionate about everything from church to gardening.
"She wanted to be a teacher because she was always learning," said Sandy Sester.
After Blomme's death was announced to students on Tuesday morning several told us she truly made a difference.
"She was the best teacher," said Darrian Lenoir. "I did my best to try and pass her class. I'm up there now, and I'm happy."
Students say even though she was strict, she was well-loved.
"She was a great teacher. She was the best teacher anyone could ask for," Williams said. "She was always on you about your work, though. She didn't play about the work. She always wanted you to get your work done."
Family members say love from those students means more than they'll ever know. Late tonight, the family's missing dog was returned. They are grateful, but admit the healing has a long way to go.
"She was a person who lived for what she could do for everybody," said Blomme's brother-in-law, Rick Blomme. "Absolute unsung hero -- when they say love in a million, she definitely fit that bill."
Family is in the process of setting up a fund. Starting Wednesday, donations can be made to any Wells Fargo location under the name Lori Blomme Memorial Fund.
MINNEAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS STATEMENT
In the morning of October 29, 2012, teacher Lori Blomme experienced a medical emergency in a classroom at Menlo Park Alternative High School and later passed away.
The passing of a member of a school community can be difficult for students, families and staff members. Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) crisis recovery staff members provided support to the program this week, along with support professionals connected with Menlo Park. Staff and leadership at Menlo Park made personal phone calls to families the afternoon of October 29 to inform them of the incident.
Lori began teaching at Menlo Park as a science teacher in 2003. Because Menlo Park is a contract alternative school, she was not an MPS employee. She was, however, part of the MPS community.
Menlo Park and MPS express condolences to Lori's family, friends, coworkers and students.