Laurens Co. School District 55 remembers beloved teacher after sudden death

Local News

LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A Laurens County school district is grieving after the sudden death of one of their beloved teachers.

Paula Harshaw, 56, passed away following a car accident in Laurens a little over a week ago.

Bouquets of flowers are now all of what occupies a vacant parking space at Laurens District 55 High School.

“She would park her red Mustang here,” said senior Keada Stephens.

Stephens said that vacancy goes beyond the empty parking spot.

“In the classroom, the energy is really heavy,” said Stephens.

She’s talking about someone who was very dear to her.

“She loved everybody, she had such a big heart,” Stephens said.

Stephens, like everyone you meet walking the halls at the high school, has nothing but words of admiration to use when talking about Harshaw.

“She was really talented and she was really dedicated to all the students here,” said Andy Entrekin, Assistant Principal at the high school.

“Always a smile on her face, she was just a great person to be around. Any time I was in a bad mood, I would go talk to her,” said Assistant Band Director Nathan Culp.

Both the assistant principal and assistant band director at the school told us her death was sudden.

The Laurens County Coroner said Harshaw was in a car crash at the corner of North Harper Street and Camp Street over a week ago.

Entrekin told 7News they found out about her death as students trickled into the auditorium for a concert she was directing.

“We made the decision that Mr. Culp and I would step up, being musically-educated certified, to help have the concert for the students,” Entrekin said.

The show went on and once students found out about the loss afterwards, they told us they were devastated.

“She was loved by many so it has definitely had an impact because, she was definitely valued in our district,” said Laurens County School District 55 Superintendent Dr. Ameca Thomas.

That sadness is still being felt, however some of them are relying on the tools she was well familiar with to heal.

“Playing music can help soothe what’s going, it’s not going to replace everything but it will help bring back good memories,” Culp explained.

A memorial is slated for Harshaw Wednesday evening around 6:15 P.M. at the school’s baseball field.

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