Counselling offered to students after teacher's shock death
HEARTBROKEN students of a Far North school will be offered counselling following the death of a "vibrant, young and lovely teacher" after a hiking tragedy.
Emily Hutchinson, 31 and originally from Gympie, was preparing to teach Year 5 and 6 at the Port Douglas State School this year after previously teaching at Weipa's Western Cape College, before tragedy struck at Stoney Creek falls on Sunday.
The 31-year-old suffered serious head injuries before passing at the Cairns Base Hospital.
The Port Douglas State Schools P&C committee has issued a touching tribute to the much-loved teacher who was already admired and respected by her peers and pupils just three days into her new job.
"A sombre start to the year for our school with the tragic passing over the weekend of our newest, but already much-loved, Year 5/6 teacher, Emily Hutchinson," the spokesman said.
"We wish to express our sincere condolences to her partner and family at this terrible time as they deal with their shock and grief at her life taken way too soon."
Parents described Ms Hutchinson as a "vibrant, young and lovely teacher" who had already made a connection with her students.
"She will be missed by all of us at PDSS," the school said.
A spokesman from the Department of Education said the school communities in Port Douglas and Weipa were "deeply shocked and saddened" at the tragic passing.
"She was a highly respected and beloved member of staff who will be greatly missed by all
her colleagues and students at Western Cape College and Port Douglas State School,
where she had most recently been teaching," the spokesman said.
"Our thoughts and sincere sympathies go out to her family, friends and loved ones during this
Support is being provided to students and staff at both schools, and guidance counsellors will provide support "in any way they can and for as long as it is needed."
A police investigation has been launched into the circumstances of the accident and a report is being prepared for the coroner.
Originally published as Counselling offered to students after death of 'vibrant, lovely teacher'