Administrators at Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School confirm the woman killed was Jennifer Lewis, a chemistry teacher at the school. Principal Mary Wilcynski says Lewis had taught at Kennedy since 2009.
Wilcynski calls Lewis: “Just an outstanding young woman, just in the beginning of her career, really.” She describes Lewis as a “chemist by nature and a teacher by heart.”
Wilcynski says counselors will be available for students and for teachers.
“Staff clearly grieve when a student gets killed or harmed, too, in this situation, it’s not only students but staff as well and they can’t be that support as much because they are grieving as well.”
She sent out an e-mail addressed to school parents Sunday afternoon to inform them of Lewis’ death. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the victim was camping with friends and a sister on the park’s south side campground.
Investigators say the tree fell from adjacent private ground onto the tent the victim was in alone.
In an e-mail to parents, Wilcynski wrote that Lewis was a native of Washington, Iowa, and graduated magna cum laude from Coe College in 2001.
Wilcynski also stated Lewis worked in the chemical manufacturing industry before attending to the University of Kansas for her graduate degree in education.
Chris Earl, KCRG, Cedar Rapids