Mourning continues in death of Naperville teacher

February 6, 2012 2:46:01 PM PST
It's been a long day for Dave Worst. Not only did he lose one of his best teachers, but the Spring Brook Elementary Principal says Shawn Wild was a good friend.

The 24-year-old second grade teacher was stabbed to death at a downtown Naperville bar as he tried to break up an argument between a friend and a bar patron. Worst says he was not surprised that Wild intervened to stop a fight.

"He died a hero in my opinion, Worst said. "He was everything you wanted in a son, in a friend and teacher."

Wild was in the middle of his first year at Spring Brook. Worst hired the North Central College graduate after meeting Wild last August on a softball team.

"Another guy on the team says, 'you gotta interview this guy,'" Worst recalled. "Being a principal for a while, I have heard that a lot, so I interviewed him and I was blown away. You could not meet him and not like him, and I said, 'wow, what an amazing guy.'"

Worst says with Wild's passion and energy he was a natural at teaching. Parents in Wild's second grade class agree, including Chad Allen. His 7-year-old daughter was in Wild's class.

"Mr. Wild was an awesome teacher for Abby," Allen said, "and she had all great things to say about him. He attended the students' sporting events and made a point to make a personal connection. He was a very special teacher for her."

While crisis counselors are helping Spring Brook students and staff deal with tragedy, those who know Daniel Olaska are trying to process Wild's death as well. Olaska is being held on a $3 million bond for the murder of Wild and attempted murder of two others. Police say Olaska used a five-inch folding knife to stab Wild and others after Wild's friend teased the 27-year-old for drinking beer out of a wine glass. With no criminal history, Olaska worked as a line service manager for the Schaumburg Regional Airport. Chopper 7 pilot Erich Schmid saw Olaska several times a day.

"In the six months I worked with him, I don't think I have ever heard him say a mean nasty word or become confrontational with any of the staff here or any of the staff at the airport," Schmidt said. "Everybody liked him."

Monday, the Olaska family released a written statement that reads in part, "We are thankful for all the prayers and support that we are receiving. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Wild family and all the other people involved. "

Olaska lived with his parents here in Naperville. Those who knew Olaska said he was a very religious person.

At Spring Brook Elementary, the crisis plan is still in place. They do have some plans at some point to somehow memorialize Wild.