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South Charleston High School vice principal dies

Trecia Peterson, vice principal of South Charleston High School and former state assistant principal of the year, died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer.

"She was strong, witty, intelligent, loyal, dedicated and loved South Charleston High School and loved these kids," Principal Michael Arbogast said.

"She told the children at South Charleston High School that they were her children. She had a thousand of them."

He said Peterson struggled with breast cancer for several years but refused to let it interfere with her work and declined to take breaks when offered.

"She was here last Friday," he said.

Students planned a candlelight vigil in her memory to be held on the football field at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Students said she set an example through her strength and sense of caring.

"Mrs. Peterson, as a vice principal, was an inspiration," said Matthew Massie, student body president. "She had an incredible sense of discipline, knew how to run the school, and all the while she was suffering from this terrible disease. The dignity she showed was downright magnificent. It's powerful stuff."

Meredith Cain, this year's Miss Black Eagle, said, "Everyone I know has something good to say about Mrs. Peterson. Even through her fight against breast cancer, she was willing to go to her limits to fight for her school and her kids - the students. She loved us like we were her own and we should remember her as the strong and loving woman she was."

In 2010, Peterson was recognized as West Virginia Assistant Principal of the Year.

"I would just like to say that Trecia Peterson was a very dedicated professional," Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring said. "She loved children and worked very hard to meet their needs at South Charleston High School. She did so much to improve the curriculum and learning environment for the students. She will be missed."

Trecia Cheryl Peterson died at her Malden home on Wednesday at the age of 52.  

Her husband, W.L. "Squeak" Peterson said her difficult battle with breast cancer began in 2007.

When people asked why she kept working, she said, "I'm living. I can't go home and quit."

He said she loved daughter Kristy L. Peters, grandson Corey, and the kids at South Charleston High. "They were the light of her life."

He was touched when the students planned a candlelight vigil. The entire family planned to attend to see the example she set continue to shine through SCHS students.

"She always said God had a purpose for her life," he said. "I think that was her purpose, to be an example."

She was a graduate of DuPont High and West Viginia University. She held a master's from Marshall University and was a few hours away from earning a doctorate. She worked for Kanawha County Schools for 29 years as a teacher and administrator. She attended Bible Center Church for 17 years.

A celebration of her life will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at Bible Center Church, Southridge campus, with Pastor Eric Mounts and the Rev. John Appleton officiating. Burial will follow in Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens.

Friends may call from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Trecia Peterson Memorial Scholarship Fund to be given to a student at SCHS who has overcome adversity. Checks with "Peterson" in the memo line may be mailed to South Charleston High School, 1 Eagle Way, South Charleston, W.Va. 25309.

Stevens & Grass Funeral Home in Malden is in charge of arrangements.


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