Collapse victim was set for teaching career

Alina Bigjohny

MUNCIE - A young teacher with a promising future was one of the victims of the stage collapse at the State Fair.

Alina Bigjohny's love for children and country music was evident in the last days of her life. The 23-year-old was one of five people who died after strong winds toppled rigging on an outdoor stage at the fairgrounds. But for the people who briefly knew her, there's so much more to know. The Fort Wayne woman was about to begin a new life in a classroom in Muncie where she was about to fulfill her dream.

"We want the very best and we think we had a girl here that was going to do well at Wilson Middle School and our school needs the kind of person that she was, really," said M. Tim Heller, superintendent of Muncie Community Schools.

Bigjohny recently graduated from college and was hired in July to teach 7th grade English at the middle school. One of the last things that she did shortly after celebrating her 23rd birthday was to get her classroom ready for school next week.

Crystal Cooper also teaches English and says that Bigjohny's students would have loved her infectious excitement and enthusiasm for learning.

"We both would have been first year teachers and learning from each other. But unfortunately...," said Cooper.

Bigjohny said recently that she hoped to become a successful teacher, the kind who instills in students knowledge and skills to be prosperous in their lives.

"She's the type of person that you'd like to say, 'That's my daughter'," said Gary Brown, principal of Wilson Middle School.

Bigjohny's roommate, a Ball State student, was with her and suffered head injuries and was in critical condition after surgery on Sunday.

Victim's Remembrance Fund