By Staff

ANDOVER (CBS) — Bancroft Elementary School students wrote messages outside the school in Andover on Thursday in honor of Tia Pittounicos, a third-grade teacher who unexpectedly passed away last February.

After her passing, interim Superintendent of Andover Public Schools Claudia Bach described Pittounicos as “an absolute ray of sunshine.”

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On Thursday morning, students drew hearts, peace signs, flowers and suns to commemorate Pittounicos.

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Bancroft Elementary School students drew peace signs, flowers and more to honor Pittounicos, who died earlier this year. (WBZ-TV)

One message said, “Be the Sunshine”, echoing Bach’s statement.

Students wrote messages outside the school, with one message (bottom right) saying “Be The Sunshine”. (WBZ-TV)

“She loved working as a teacher and her dedication, enthusiasm and positivity radiated throughout the building,” Bach wrote back in February. “Although Ms. Pittounicos taught in Andover for a short period of time, she quickly developed a wonderful rapport with staff and families.”

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Tia Pittounicos (Photo credit: Andover Public Schools)

The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune reported that an email sent to students and staff from the school principal said her death came after “a short illness.” Staff