Natalie Holzer/Eyewitness News
Brownsburg - The community of Brownsburg is mourning following the tremendous loss of a long-time teacher and leader in education. Nancy Pratt died in a car crash over the weekend on I-74 near Crawfordsville Road in Montgomery County.
It takes bricks and mortar to build a school but at Delaware Trail Elementary School in Brownsburg, one particular person had a special role in holding the facility together.
"When you thought of Delaware Trail, Nancy Pratt was who came to mind," said Jill Hostein, friend and educator.
But now, unexpectedly, staff, parents and students must learn how to cope without Nancy Pratt. School Principal Phil Utterback said the school was feeling disbelief and shock after hearing the news.
The 55-year-old third grade teacher and educator for 33 years died Saturday afternoon. State police say her minivan gradually left the road and crashed into the back of an abandoned ambulance on I-74 near Crawfordsville. Emergency workers pronounced her dead at the scene.
"Absolutely shocked. It was the last thing I expected to hear on Sunday morning," said Holstein.
"This is very tough, very tough," said one parent.
"I can't believe it. We just talked to Nancy on Friday. She was in the homecoming parade. It was 110 percent with Nancy every day," said the principal.
"She'd been a teacher here for several years. She just had that passion. She wasn't burnt out. She came to school every day with a positive attitude and it showed," said Lisa Eavey, parent.
"She was just enthusiastic. She loved her kids. She loved watching them get excited about learning," said Holstein.
Pratt maintained her passion for teaching even through a battle with liver disease in recent years, wearing a green wristband. Now, many are wearing green ribbons in her honor. Outside the school, the marquee says, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Pratt's family."