Schaumburg High community mourns sudden passing of beloved teacher, soccer coach

  • Schaumburg High School science teacher and soccer coach Jason Georgacakis celebrates with Class of 2019 graduates, from left, Shivani Patel, Krupa Patel and Mona Pudasaini, during commencement ceremonies last year at the Sears Centre Arena.

    Schaumburg High School science teacher and soccer coach Jason Georgacakis celebrates with Class of 2019 graduates, from left, Shivani Patel, Krupa Patel and Mona Pudasaini, during commencement ceremonies last year at the Sears Centre Arena. Courtesy of Palatine Schaumburg High School District 211

  • Jason Georgacakis

    Jason Georgacakis Courtesy of Palatine Schaumburg High School District 211

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 3/11/2020 6:20 AM

Students and faculty at Schaumburg High School grappled Tuesday with the sudden passing of popular science teacher Jason Georgacakis.

Principal Tim Little announced the news Tuesday morning and made members of the school's crisis response team available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Mr. Georgacakis was loved by students and staff alike," Little said, "and as part of the Saxon family, he will be greatly missed."

Georgacakis lived in Mount Prospect with his wife, Rachael Rothrauff, a teacher at Glenbrook South High School, and their two young daughters, Mila and Lidia. He died Tuesday at the age of 38.

"It was a day filled with a vast array of emotions, from the students who were so vulnerable and the faculty alike," said Ben Lobo, a fellow science teacher. "He had a huge impact on all of us."

Georgacakis grew up in Northbrook and attended Glenbrook North High School. In college, he studied marine biology and intended to make a career of it, but his natural connection with students won out.

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He spent his entire teaching career at Schaumburg High, beginning in 2005, where he taught biology, AP biology, and health careers and medical terminology.

In addition to teaching, Georgacakis coached girls and boys soccer. He coached boys from 2007-2017 and had coached the junior varsity girls team since 2008. He held tryouts last week and was preparing the team for its first game Monday, against Bartlett High School.

Georgacakis also served since 2017 as the sponsor for the Health Occupations Students of America club.

Science department Chairman Jason Campbell said Georgacakis, or "Mr. G," as he was known, taught with a real exuberance and genuineness that drew students to him.

"He was quick to laugh, quicker to smile, and the first to step in and offer whatever help he could when needed," Campbell said. "He was a beloved husband and father, an influential teacher, an inspirational coach and sponsor, a trusted colleague, and as true a friend as anyone could ask for. His wit, humor, and humility will never be replaced or forgotten."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A testament to his popularity can be traced back to last year's senior breakfast, when students voted Georgacakis to be the event's featured speaker.

That same popularity was evident Tuesday, when the devastation of the news was felt throughout the building.

"As students told stories about him today, in between their tears, they couldn't help but laugh," Lobo said. "It was his sense of humor and the way he made them laugh. That is how they remembered him.

"He was a problem-solver and loved challenges," Lobo added. "He took the principles of science and applied the scientific method to everything he approached."

Services are pending.

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