By Jennifer Mrzowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ROSELAWN - Hundreds of students gathered in the auditorium of Harmony Community School Wednesday night to memorialize their former superintendent, who collapsed at school Dec. 29 and died.
Ayanna Austin, a senior, adds her voice to the Harmony choir at Wednesday's memorial for David Nordyke.|
(Meggan Booker photo)
The Harmony Choir sang songs about David Nordyke while other students unveiled three murals they painted, one of Nordyke with the characteristic bullhorn he carried to keep order in the school he founded.
Nordyke, 51, died of heart disease.
Wednesday was the first day back since winter break. Harmony was closed Monday and Tuesday in Nordyke's honor.
At the time of his death, Nordyke was teaching two classes and students say he was always known to walk the halls and talk to students.
Many students, who waited in line to share memories about him Wednesday, said Nordyke was a father figure.
"He was one of the reasons I wanted to stay in school," said Korey Smith, 20, who graduated but comes back to Harmony regularly to mentor students. "I was going to drop out in the ninth grade but he helped me graduate on time."
Some students said they lost not just a school leader, but a friend.
"He was an inspiration," said Chris Johnson, 19, a Harmony graduate who along with Smith runs a graphics and publishing business called Street Fame. Nordyke helped them start the business.
"He said we need to get out on our own and get things done by ourselves," said Smith, who sported a T-shirt he and Johnson made. The T-shirt showed the heads of Nordyke and two dead rap artists encircled by halos. The inscription: "The real ones always die early."
Nordyke founded the school in a former Bond Hill dime store in 1998 as one of Ohio's first charter schools.
Nordyke wanted to teach students who weren't successful at other schools. Enrollment is now more than 600 students ages 11 to 22.
School personnel say they will continue the program.
West-siders still stand by Pete
Concealed carry bill awaits Taft
Concealed carry rules
More stores sold gas-tainted kerosene
Water recedes, cleanup begins
IN THE TRISTATE
Boone County schools chief likes to be prepared
AK Steel to build fence in pollution dispute
Killer to stay in tight security
Warren explores performing arts school
Blue Ash golfers can buy cold one
From the state capitals
Debate over halting killings splits council
Jolivette, Combs may swap
Harmony says sad goodbye to founder
Some want to shut door on retail
New hospital's scope still unclear
Trial gives look into drug life
Reservists off to Kuwait
Husband, 85, charged in slaying
In the schools
No jail in attack on local guide dog
Around the Tristate
Bronson: Visions of sugar plums? Not exactly
Lab buyout could result in moving it to Boone County
Senior citizens, students mingle
Thomas Rumpke ran family business
Coast Guard studying accident
Panel looks for good ideas
Kimmich bows out of county's top job
D.C. group airing ads touting Kerr