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Principal: Fayetteville teacher, coach 'made every child feel special'

Posted January 26

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— The gymnasium at Max Abbott Middle School in Fayetteville was crowded Thursday night as many gathered to celebrate the life of a beloved teacher who died earlier in the week.

Jim Pietrowski was a coach and teacher at Max Abbot Middle School, but that was just his job description because he meant so much more to those who attended the memorial service.

As a crowd of friends, parents and students wiped tears from their eyes, the sight was powerful for Jim Pietrowski’s father.

“I see all the people here, I can’t believe it,” said James Pietrowski Sr. “He always, always talked about his students.”

The school was devastated Tuesday when Pietrowski collapse at school and later died at the hospital. School officials said an ongoing medical condition was the cause.

Those who worked with Pietrowski at Max Abbot Middle School told his family what he meant to them.

“He made every child feel special,” said Max Abbot Middle School Principal Carla Crenshaw. “He has been the father figure they didn’t have.”

Co-workers remembered the coach and teacher who loved NASCAR and the New England Patriots and had a sense of humor.

“I have no idea what you are going through, but I am here for you, we are here for you and I am sorry,” said Coach Matthew Holstein.

The loss hurts, but to the people touched by his son, James Pietrowski Sr. could only say “bless you and thank you very much.”

The gymnasium where the service was held was lined with banners with small messages from students at the school. Those banners will be given to Pietrowski’s family.

Pietrowski’s wife, Holly, also teaches at the school. Co-workers offered their support in any way she needs it.

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