Current and former students and staff laced the Adlai E. Stevenson High School Facebook page with heartfelt tributes marking the death of one of the school's most active and beloved teachers.
Doug Koski, 47, taught at the school for nearly 20 years. His coursework spanned everything from English and journalism to film and media analysis. He was involved in the school's writing club, film club, debate team, school news network and even the a club dedicated to fans of The Simpsons.
A letter from Superintendent Eric Twadell posted to the school's website said Koski died Wednesday surrounded by his family. The circumstances of his death were not made public, and funeral information has not yet been supplied by Koski's relatives.
"Doug was well-liked by his students and his peers, and he will be missed," Twadell wrote. "Words cannot express our sorrow and grief at this time."
On Facebook, former students described Koski as a life-changing teacher and mentor who connected with students on a personal level and changed the way they thought about writing, film and the world.
"Words cannot describe how passionate Mr. Koski was about teaching," wrote former student Ria Singh. "I remember as second semester of senior year rolled around, he was somehow able to motivate us to keep learning, and we always had so much fun in class. He would always talk about his daughters, and it was clear that he was a loving father. Every day he started off class by asking us how we were and genuinely cared about every one of his students. He had such a profound impact on so many students, including myself."
Former student Joe Shapiro described Koski as "an awesome teacher and person. Taught me the importance of thinking critically about everything and will be remembered as someone who has influenced me greatly."
District administrators could not be reached for further comment Wednesday night. Twadell's message promised to share funeral information when it becomes available.