Beloved Biology Teacher Remembered By Community

Roseanne Leediker celebrated by students and coworkers one week after her death

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Beloved Biology Teacher Remembered By Community

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Students and staff mourned long-time biology teacher Roseanne Leediker during a funeral Friday morning at Highland Park United Methodist Church. 

Leediker died Saturday, September 7 from cancer. With a 20-year career at Highland Park, she impacted many lives, and she had a reputation for engaging students in class and labs. 

“She was truly an inspirational teacher,” senior Maddy Collins said. “She was the one who inspired me to go into medicine and really made me love science.”

Throughout her teaching career, Leediker taught AP TAG Biology, AP Biology and Medical Microbiology, in addition to serving as the science department chair.

“She wasn’t afraid to say you were wrong if you were, and we all respected her for that,” junior Thomas Ibbotson said. “She was really up front with us about things and, overall, just a great person to be around in the classroom.”  

Outside of teaching, Leediker was known for her love of long-distance running, which prompted chemistry teacher Wenzen Chuang to approach her for help before a marathon. While retelling a fond memory of him and former biology teacher Alexa Mallard trying to train with Leediker’s running group, Chuang laughed at her high expectations.

“We had to prove ourselves first before she would take us on, and she made it seem like you had to do certain things before she would even talk to you about running,” Chuang said. “So, we worked out on our own until we got approved by Leediker to actually run with her group.” 

In honor of Leediker, a memorial run was held at White Rock Lake Saturday morning, where she spent mornings running. Donations in her memory were also made to For the Love of the Lake, a non-profit organization supporting programs to preserve and enhance White Rock Lake Park.

Leediker believed teaching life sciences was a privilege, according to a district press release, and she particularly enjoyed immunology and epidemiology – what she called two of the most dynamic fields.

In the same district press release, Principal Walter Kelly said, “She was a compassionate teacher who led students into careers in engineering, health sciences and applied science and research. She touched countless lives during her 42 years in education and is remembered for her dedication and love of learning and teaching.”

In addition to all the students and staff she impacted, Leediker is survived by her two daughters and two Golden Retrievers. The counseling staff has been available to provide support to those needing to talk through grief.

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