Vol. 17, No. 24 Dec. 2 - 15, 2004


PS 8 Remembers Teacher Who Died in Accident


Suzana Dedivanaj-Spruck’s abrupt death earlier this year sparked media attention across the tri-state area, but last month it was those closest to the dedicated teacher — her colleagues, her students and her family — who took time out to remember the young educator who returned to work at the school she had gone to herself.

Dedivanaj-Spruck, 31, and her husband Stephen, 27, were killed when a 50-year-old tree struck their SUV as they drove along the Saw Mill River Parkway near Hastings-on-Hudson in April. Miraculously, the couple’s 6-month-old child, Kristina, survived the horrific accident.

Students and faculty at PS 8, located on Briggs Avenue in Bedford Park, recalled their teacher in a moving service on Nov. 22, when the school auditorium was dedicated to Dedivanaj-Spruck, a lover of music and performance.

“I watched her become an experienced teacher with much insight into her students’ individuality,” said Robin Rosen, a teacher and co-worker of Dedivanaj-Spruck. “But it was her own competency and drive that inspired her friends to be their best. How she died is immaterial to who she was.”

“Most new teachers are nervous and unsure of their abilities,” added teacher Elyse Mahoney. “Suzy, on the other hand, was like a ball of fire. She had an amazing attitude.”

The victim’s sister, Kristina Dedivanaj, said the dedication for her sister was appropriate. “Suzy always loved performances and choruses,” she said. “She loved them. She always dragged my mother to the performances ... and she was very proud of all the children." 

Choking back tears, Dedivanaj said her sister’s legacy would live on in her daughter, whom she described as “a little firecracker.” The girl watched the dedication ceremony from the first row.

After unveiling a memorial plaque, students performed “Schota,” an Albanian dance that celebrates life and culture.

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