The community mourns
The community of New England gathered at the New England Public School Monday, Dec. 9, for a Celebration of Life for their beloved teacher, coach, and community member, Shawn Flaherty.
Mr. Flaherty, the fourth grade teacher at the school, was killed in an automobile accident Wednesday, Dec. 4.
The gymnasium was a sea of black and orange "Tiger" shirts showing school spirit and support of the schools biggest cheerleader. The school lobby was lined with plaques and pictures of teams he coached, and kids he influenced.
Memories were shared from staff, community members, and lifelong friends, all told the same tale.
"Shawn Flaherty was a gentle giant," said lifelong friend Jim Haussler. A big man, standing 6'6", with a booming voice, "He just had a big personality and was passionate about everything he did. He did nothing in moderation," laughed Haussler.
That larger than life man, had won the hearts of all of his athletes and students. As the fourth grade teacher, most of his students would reach out and hug his legs, rememberd New England Superintendnet Kelly Koppinger.
There was more to Flaherty than teaching the coaching. His generosity and his sense of humor stretched out into the community.
Shannay Witte remembers Flaherty best through their time spent together in the drama club in town. "He was just bigger than life and put his all into everything he did. He was hilarious and was so much more than Mr. Basketball – he supported everyone and everything in the community."
The gentle giant, Shawn Flaherty, may be gone, but will never be forgotten from the community of New England.