Beloved Lincoln Park High School PE teacher struck, killed while riding motorcycle

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Create yourself." "Refuse to be average." "Better every day." The sayings were part of Alan Nuñez's email signature at Lincoln Park High School. They're now etched in chalk as a tribute to the popular PE teacher, who was killed, struck by a vehicle while riding his motorcycle over the weekend.

"If he was still here he'd want us to be happy so that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to keep his spirit alive," said Kalise Waarath, student.

He was a young father, with a newborn baby at home.

Nuñez had only been at Lincoln Park High for two years. His focus on mental wellness and ability to connect with his students, especially during this past year, set him apart.

"It's been a real challenge for a lot of our students and he was amazing at reaching out to them where they were, and trying to encourage the kids and get them through this hard time," said Sarah Kong, PE teacher at Lincoln Park High School.

Nuñez's memorial is now drawn in chalk art at the school, but students are also writing letters to his family and sharing funny stories, many of which seem to involve techno music, fanny packs and his hair.

"We had this thing. We were afro twins," Waarath said. "I was going to wear my afro today. But I didn't take my hair down. But I'm definitely going to wear it tomorrow."

And his email signature, as well, has stuck with his students and coworkers.

"Laugh when you can. Apologize when you should and don't worry about the things you can't change. Be strong when you are weak. Brave when you are scared and humble when you are victorious. Be your own inspiration," Kong said.

Because students here are attending in shifts, Nuñez's memorial will remain in place for at least the remainder of the week to allow others to add onto it.
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