COLUMBIA, S.C. — A third grade teacher in Columbia has died from coronavirus complications.
Officials say Bannister tested positive for the virus on Friday, September 4 and passed away just days later on Monday. She was 28-years-old.
Rebecca Twitty, a fourth grade teacher at Windsor Elementary School, found out this week her coworker and friend, Demi Bannister died from coronavirus complications.
"She would go above and beyond for her students," Twitty said. "So, that's how I want to remember her -- as a great teacher."
"I was just thinking, goodness, this is going to be a big hole and we are going to try and piece by piece, like, patch it together. But it will be a constant puzzle piece missing for Windsor," Twitty said.
Principal Denise Quickel said Bannister was known as Windsor Elementary’s "songbird."
"Ms. Bannister used her musical talents to bring a great deal of joy to our school … [she] led the school’s student choir in a variety of performances and hosted a student club for aspiring singers," Quickel said.
"She had one of the most beautiful voices," Twitty said. "I mean, if it was someone's birthday, her and another teacher, they would come down and serenade us a lot. She was always singing and performing."
Twitty says Bannister constantly integrated music into her students' lessons too, even with math.
Bannister began teaching fifth grade at Windsor Elementary five years ago. For the past few years she taught third grade.
"Demi was just all about everyone else and I hope to be half the teacher that she was. And I hope the kids that I have now that had her last year just truly know that I know I can't replace her," Twitty says.
Bannister’s compassionate personality and beautiful singing voice will be missed by her family, students and friends.
Windsor Elementary students are learning virtually from home, like all other Richland Two schools. The district says Bannister was last at the school for a teacher work day on August 28. Officials say they've followed proper contact tracing procedures and continued their regular COVID-19 cleaning plan.