Woodbury Spanish Teacher Andrew Sommer Dies

Woodbury High School made the announcement about the Spanish teacher, who had been fighting cancer, Wednesday morning. Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Woodbury High School teacher Andrew (Andy) Sommer, who had been battling cancer, died Wednesday morning, Dec. 19, 2012.

“We are mourning the loss of our colleague and friend. He remains an outstanding member of the Woodbury High School faculty, touching the lives of countless students, staff and parents,” Principal Linda Plante said in a statement. “As a College in the Schools Spanish instructor, Andy brought rigor to the classroom, and laughter and joy to his students. He was an outstanding educator and will be sorely missed.”

Sommer was hired as a Spanish teacher at Woodbury High School in August 1988, and remained there during his entire career with District 833, according to a notice from the school.

He also frequently served as adviser for prom, sophomore and junior classes, S.A.D.D. and National Honor Society.

“Our thoughts and condolences are extended to his family and friends,” reads the note from WHS.


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Kris Janisch December 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Thanks Student and Brooks.
E December 19, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Mr. Sommer was a wonderful teacher and mentor. He really connected with his students, made his classes exciting learning opportunities, and inspired me to continue studying Spanish and traveling. Even after I graduated we continued to be friends though I was never able to call him Andy. The world needs more Senor Veranos. My condolences to his family, he will be missed so much.
Kris Janisch December 19, 2012 at 08:31 PM
So nice to hear E, thanks.
Octavio Lorenzo December 19, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I Googled Mr Sommer, and his Rate My Teacher ratings were all, 5-Star. Every comment was about how much he helped them love Spanish. My own child is a Senior @ Woodbury HS, and has raved on his skills as a teacher. Great commentary. Rest in Peace, Senor Sommer, rest in peace. Here is the link: http://www.ratemyteachers.com/andrew-sommer/456135-t 06/06/10 Definitely the best Spanish teacher I've ever had. Easiness5 stars Helpfulness 5 stars Clarity 5 stars 05/12/09 I graduated almost ten years ago and STILL remember some of his goofy teaching methods. la piscina, "ooo, asss, ahhh, amos, aaaan," etc. Easiness5 stars Helpfulness 5 stars Clarity 5 stars
Courtney Huehn December 19, 2012 at 08:54 PM
I graduated 12 years ago and I remember Sr. Sommer swimming on the desk top, taping 10 forks on the door, and wearing a scarf and yelling boo! Fonda! Will always remember his fun ways of teaching. So sad to hear about this great loss! I hope his friends and family can find comfort and peace during this time.
Kris Janisch December 19, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Cool stories guys. Nice to hear about a teacher connecting with students like that.
Leon Broach December 19, 2012 at 09:47 PM
El vivio para ensanar. Duerme bien Senor.
Leon Broach December 19, 2012 at 09:51 PM
When I attended WHS, Mr. Sommer was just one of those legendary teachers. Everyone who knew him, liked him. He was the coolest man dedicated to his teaching. Even though I haven't seen him in years, my heart saddens by the news of his passing.
2004 Grad December 19, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I do not remember much Spanish from High School, but I remember the joy, excitement, and teaching strategies he brought to his teaching every day.
Dominic Ledesma December 19, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Gracias por el desempeño a través de los años. Siempre recordaremos con cariño tus clases y tu forma de ser. Que en paz descanse señor Sommer.
Elizabeth Barton December 20, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I never had senor Sommer, but I took Spanish all through high school so I knew him. He was such a happy guy always smiling and willing to help. This is a great loss to whs. Rip, Senor Sommer.
J December 20, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I only had him as a teacher for one week. Our language teacher was traveling and our assignment was to go to another language class. Thanks to Señor Sommer I can conjugate Spanish verbs twelve years later but I couldn't tell you what they mean. That speaks volumes though to remember something so little for so long. I was saddened to hear the news from a private student of mine who currently attends WHS.
Kevin Rosenberg December 20, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Normally I don't write things like this, but after learning of Andrew (Señor) Sommer's death early this morning, I feel compelled to express both my gratitude and my sadness. My gratitude is for the fun and engaging classes over the years, the friendship, compassion and many lessons learned while studying under his tutelage. My sadness is for the rest of the world, for it has lost both an amazingly passionate and caring educator. Someone who had the capacity to change lives with but a simple high school Spanish class. Goodbye Señor Sommer, you are loved and will be sorely missed.
Sara December 20, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Señor Sommer, The world has list a great teacher today. It is because of you that I am who I am today. Thank you for being such a memorable teacher and mentor. I will always think of you when watching Monte Python or listening to ABBA. Thank you for all the great memories from High School.
Rachel Beckwith December 20, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Senor Sommer was in the club Be The Dream. i knew him because of that. Mrs.Freeman, Senor Sommer and I sat at a table during one of the study sessions. A spanish teacher and a socail studies teacher with a student working on biology! It was the best. We talked about so many things and its been one of the nest afternoons at school. a total of 4 of us from choir went to the library to talk and mourn. we told stories and cried together. He always said that he would come into my spanish one class and ask if anyone had a crab with them. i always keep my fake blus crab in my backpack and he was told the long story abou the crab during the study session. My own spanish teacher had lunch with him everyday and she said that senor Sommer always talked about me. I spent about two hours in that library, where senor sommer, mrs.freeman and i would have our study sessions, aka our socail sessions sometimes, just crying while my friend comforted me and cried with me. Senor Sommer, i thought i would have you all of high school to laugh and continue to grow close. that didnt happen, but i believe that you will continue to look down upon Woodbury high school and remember all of us. We will see you again, maybe not now or anytime soon, but we will see you again. R.I.P. Senor Sommer. Feliz Navidad Senor Sommer!
A Egan December 20, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Senor Sommer - a student did not need to be in one of your classes to learn from you or appreciate how rare and wonderful an educator your are. It was 20 years ago this fall when you participated in our high school musical West Side Story in the role of Officer Krupke. How fun and memorable! You taught not only Spanish, but respect, confidence, and so much more. Thanks for inspiring so many of those that knew you to be better people, do better in the world, and teach others to do the same. May you be at rest knowing that the work you did here on earth was good and worthwhile...and continues on through your students, friends and colleagues. Rest in peace, Senor Sommer. Feliz Navidad!
Andrew Timming December 20, 2012 at 09:13 AM
Mr Sommer was among the best, if not the best, teacher I ever had. This news has really left me devastated. No one was more kind, funny and inspiring altogether than Mr Sommer. About a decade after I graduated, I popped by his classroom and he recognized me immediately. I also want to point something out. When I did a charity bike ride in England to raise money for cancer research, Mr. Sommer made a generous donation. And this was before he was diagnosed with cancer himself. I think that really says it all about him.
Janelle Erickson December 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Sr Sommer was special in so many ways. What I loved most about him was that he encouraged people to be different. It wasn't just okay to be weird/funny/nerdy/"random" in his class - it was celebrated. Such a rare thing was surely appreciated by anyone who felt a little outside the mainstream in high school (which is probably everyone). La la la la la la la. We'll miss you.
Ashley Hume December 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I was just thinking of Mr. Sommer last week as I was resetting an online password and had to answer 'who was your favorite teacher'. Mr. Sommer wasn't just my favorite teacher, he was one of my favorite people. I'm so sorry for the loss to the community and to his loved ones. Mr Sommer - you will be missed!
Kris Janisch December 20, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Thanks so much for sharing everyone.
Kris Janisch December 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
And be sure to check out this post from Chloe on Mr. Sommer: http://patch.com/B-cHR1
Jenny Vitale December 21, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I feel compelled to leave a post for a man I never met but who I respected and admired. We hosted a student last year and he took Spanish the entire year even though he was already fluent. He stayed in the class because Mr. Sommer was an exceptional teacher and made him feel welcome. He often said Spanish class was the best part of his school day. I will always be grateful to Mr. Sommer for going the extra mile to help a new student from a foreign country feel welcome at Woodbury HS.
Ben Levy December 21, 2012 at 11:21 PM
I just learned about Andrew's (senor) Sommer's passing. Really nice to see how many lives he has touched. We grew up with the Sommer family here in Fremont California. Andy had a wonderfully wacky sense of humor. Always kind and generous. Although I have seen more of his parents in the past 30 years, his memory will always make me smile and I will never forget the adventures and get togethers we had with the Sommer family in the 1960's and 70's. Hopefully he will meet up somewhere in the hereafter with my beloved brother Daniel. My heartfelt condolences to the Sommer family. Very very saddened to hear this news. Ben Levy
Amy Goetze December 22, 2012 at 11:22 PM
It's been almost 10 years since I graduated from Woodbury high school but I remember Mr Sommer like I was just in his class. Such a kind inspiring man, I still retell his funny stories like his "amoebas" on the overhead projector. He is what a teacher should be, inspiring students even after they leave the classroom. Rest in peace, MR. Sommer
WHS 2005 graduate December 23, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Senior Sommer, I heard that you died yesterday from your good friend, Mr. Rekstad. I told my sister, Katie the news and she felt bad. I got a text message from Ben and he wrote Poor Senor he must have been really sick. I was very happy to have you for my Spanish teacher when I was a sophomore at Woodbury High School. I will remember you for your sense of humor and how you always made learning Spanish fun! Rest in Peace, Mr. Sommer.
Jean Roemer December 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM
We were just so blessed to have him in our lives--as teacher, colleague, friend. My goal is to work harder to bring Andy's joy and kindness into my relationships. He was such a shining star.
Kris Janisch December 28, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Thanks Jean. And I had some folks ask about services for Andy. Here's the info: http://patch.com/A-0Bk9
Parent February 07, 2013 at 08:53 PM
I have two kids at WHS and they both had Mr. Sommer. He was their favorite teacher and they were devastated when he passed away. The school was having a tough time replacing him but that is because he can't be replaced. He loved his students and they knew it and loved him too. Mr. Sommer is missed every day at WHS.
Kris Janisch February 07, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Thanks Parent.
Kris Janisch May 03, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Just saw this from the Woodbury High School announcements today: So many things continue to remind us about Senior Sommer this year. And here’s another: The Andy Sommer Spanish Studies Scholarship has been established for graduating seniors THIS YEAR. This scholarship has been established to financially assist students who plan on pursuing Spanish Studies after high school. If you are interested in applying for this scholarship, applications are available from Ms. Bandholz in the counseling office.


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