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Teacher honored with ceremony

Students, staff and family gathered Wednesday at Mount Zion Elementary School to remember one of their own.

Laura Robertson, a 10-year physical education teacher, passed away in August 2009 after a battle with cancer. During the ceremony, students and co-workers shared poems, songs and memories of Robertson, and dedicated a pink butterfly bench to her memory.

Students at the school shared memories of Robertson, which were read aloud during the program by the student government representatives.

“First grade thought Mrs. Robertson was helpful.”

“She played fun games.”

“I love the way Mrs. Robertson taught us not to do drugs.”

“I loved when Mrs. Robertson taught us to jump rope.”

“She made me feel happy when she said nice things to us.”

Robertson’s husband, son and three sisters were in attendance at the ceremony, as well as her pastor.

“This was fantastic,” her husband, Roger, said. “She touched a lot of hearts.”

Laura’s twin sister Linda Hitt agreed.

“She loved them as much as they loved her,” Hitt said. It showed in what she did, her sisters added — Robertson had once taken girls clothes shopping when their mother was fighting a drug addiction, and rented a limousine for high school students to attend prom.

Robertson was born in Alabama when her father was stationed there in the U.S. Navy, and later moved to Norfolk when he was transferred. Eventually, the family found its way to Suffolk, where Robertson and Hitt began working at the Golden Corral restaurant.

Roger Robertson, a customer at the restaurant, began noticing Laura on his visits. The two became a couple when she told him a fellow employee was interested in him, and he told her he would prefer to take her out instead.

The couple married, and Laura Robertson graduated from Christopher Newport University. She worked in preschool and special education for Suffolk Public Schools until a physical education position became available at Mount Zion and Robertson elementary schools. She held that position for 10 years until her death in August, just after the end of summer school.

The butterfly bench, constructed by the Pruden Center for Industry and Technology’s welding and auto collision repair classes, was painted pink with ribbons, the color and symbol of breast cancer research. It was placed near the entrance to the school after the ceremony.

“Our hope is this will be a visual tribute to Mrs. Robertson for many years to come,” said Mount Zion principal Fran Barnes.