The Legacy of Mr. Anderson: In Loving Memory

The Legacy of Mr. Anderson: In Loving Memory

What is a legacy? It’s the seed of the plant we never get to see. Mr. David Anderson left us with his legacy of love and respect, reminding us that nothing is impossible to achieve, and hard work is key. Mr. Anderson constantly challenged his students to be better, and though at the time it seemed tough, he is part of the reason many of us are the great young men and women we are today.

Mr. Anderson started Sahuaro as Mrs. Watters student teacher.  He was so beloved, that he was immediately hired and welcomed into the English department the following year, teaching all freshmen.  While at Sahuaro, Mr. Anderson described himself as weirdly ambidextrous, using his left and right hands and feet for different things.  He  trained in MMA, graduated from the University of Arizona, and said if he wasn’t a teacher, he would be either some type of counselor or astronomer.  He was involved in our community, tutoring during the pandemic and always looking for ways to better his surroundings.

Many students and teachers wanted to share memories celebrating the legacy Mr. Anderson left behind in his years at Sahuaro:

“This is one little story I have about the kindest most loving person I have ever met,” begins current Sahuaro senior Alexys Kamper. “Long story short, Mr. Anderson helped me in a time of need my freshman year of High School. He was always there when I needed someone to talk to and his class always made me smile. He just radiated good energy and honestly, he helped me forget my home life with the energy he portrayed in his classroom. I will never forget the first day of school when I walked into his first period class freshman year, and I just saw him smile and welcome everyone into his classroom. We spent that day talking about us and getting to know him and all our classmates. He talked a lot about his family and how much he loved his mom and loved teaching. He showed us his tattoo and talked about how much he liked it. He was the reason not only I, but so many students, could get through their first year of high school because he always welcomed his room for anyone to talk or even just hang out to just get away. I think me, and my classmates, can all agree that he was a wonderful son, teacher, and person all around. This is a tragedy, but he will not be forgotten, and he will always be remembered by not only his students but all his friends and family as well.”

Fellow English teacher Jeremy Harkin recalls, “David was an immaculate man of style and dress. He never had a hair out of place or a wrinkled shirt or mismatched colors. Just snappy. I used to tell him he was way overdressed for the English Department. It was a constant joke between us—I’d tell him he made the rest of us look bad. But—he was the one who looked good-in so many ways. He will be missed.”

“David was a kind, smart, and funny young man, I had the pleasure of having lunch with him every day and I can tell you first hand, he was always doing something really cool. I was truly amazed with how much he understood, you know I’m an old school teacher, so every time I walked into his room and he was doing any kind of assignment involving technology, I was astounded . He always had the desire to do good, I am very upset. He will be missed,” said fellow English department teacher, Ms. Shelly Krause

Maria Cooperstein wanted to say, “Mr Anderson was my freshman English teacher, and he was a sweet and funny teacher. I have to admit, there were a couple times where I probably got on his nerves or he got on mine, as the student-teacher relationship is, but I knew in my heart he was a good teacher. I was devastated to hear about his passing. It made me remember all of the memories I had from his class from freshman year. I remember the first day in his class he had us do an exercise where we made direct eye contact with the person next to us. It was very strange and also hilarious, and I met a girl I’m still very close with from that class.
Another memory I have of him is this time in his class, I can’t remember why, but I answered a question talking about global warming, and another student piped in and said to me “You believe in global warming? I bet you believe the earth is flat too.” I really had no idea how to respond to that, I was embarrassed and stumbling over my words for a second until Mr Anderson piped in and said, “Actually, a lot of people who believe the earth is flat don’t believe in global warming, either.” It was a small, simple and witty response, but as a super shy and solemn freshman,  it saved me from absolutely embarrassing myself in front of the entire class and I still appreciate that small gesture to this day.
My favorite memory of him though is the “Community Engagement Project”, which where you engaged with your community. My partner and I decided bake goods from box mixes we got from the dollar store and sell them to raise enough money to buy toiletries, backpacks, and food for homeless people around Tucson.  We documented our experience, and it was such a fun project to participate in. What I realized (probably later than I should’ve) is that Mr Anderson wanted to contribute and better our community. Mr Anderson was a kind soul who took good care of his students and cared for his community. I’m very thankful to say I was a student of his. I will never forget my freshman English teacher.”
Mrs. Hughes, English teacher said, “David Anderson was a kind, decent man who treated his students with respect, holding them accountable with rigorous work, but also showing compassion.  I was sad when he left Sahuaro, and I know the world was a better place with him in it.  My heart goes out to his family.”
Principal Estrella shared with the faculty of Sahuaro, “David was a beloved and skillful English teacher for Sahuaro High School.  He was an early adaptor of technology.  He explored the use of emerging software to connect his students to content and to other teenagers around the world.  I remember him collaborating with a teacher in Brazil to organize a game of 20 questions where students had to guess which city and county each was from. My heart and prayers go out to David, his family, and his loved ones.”
“There was this one time in class where we had this project thing where we had to make a meme and so i showed him this very edgy meme and we all had a good laugh. there was this joke that me and my friend wanted to tell him, and we’ve been waiting for a time we get to tell him the joke but now we cant. he was such a good teacher and i felt bad because people treated him not so well and it sucks because he was so chill. it’s always the stupid stuff that made the best memories.” -Julian Torrez

“I like how he was always a joyful guy even on bad days.”  -Aiden Garcia

“I had him while he was training with Ms. Watters to become his own teacher (he did the following year) but he was very kind to me and every student whether they were in the class or not, he was always smiley and cheerful even on the bad days.” – Trinity Garner

“He was really nice, and he was super fun with his assignments and even the time capsule he did.”  -Serenity Garcia

“Mr. Anderson was a great teacher. He was a very likeable person and he made sure he had us get whatever we needed done, even when strict he still was all around a good teacher and most importantly a good person, We had a lot of laughs in his class and I wish his family nothing but the best during this time.” – Josie Shivers

“He was one of the nicest teachers. He set some examples for me and some other students he had. ” – Andrew Trevino

“He was such a good, fun teacher, he would always be the one to make the class laugh but still be serious when it needed to be. He’s definitely a teacher I will remember and always look up too.” – Kailene Figueroa

“I didn’t have him as a teacher but whenever I saw him in the hallways he was always so nice with a smile on his face.  He would wait for me to go through the doors, he looked like he enjoyed his job and enjoyed the students.”  – Joseph Pena

“Mr. Anderson was the kindest soul, we had a project were all of us did a community service/something for the earth project, and it really demonstrated how much he cared about us and his community.” – Alysia Sims

We hope that everyone remembers the beautiful times they shared with Mr. Anderson in the past, and not the sad endings of today. May you rest in peace Mr. Anderson, you will be missed.