Community Mourns Longtime Teacher and Friend
Crickett Schmidt touched the lives of many
ANCHORAGE - Longtime Anchorage teacher Crickett Schmidt recently lost her battle with cancer. She was one of the city's unsung heroes. But her impact went beyond the classroom.
She was an educator, a travel agent, a jeweler, and a friend. The hundreds who showed up at her memorial service simply wanted to honor the superwoman they all knew as Crickett.
When it comes to the lessons that really matter within the walls at East High, her presence remains.
“When a student says, ‘I had Ms. Schmidt,’ basically that really means Ms. Schmidt knew that student inside and out,” said East High teacher Janice Strickland, who worked with Schmidt.
Because Christina "Crickett" Schmidt did more than just teach, she prepared hundreds of minds to live life. And if you've never even heard of her until today, chances are you know one of the people whose lives she changed.
“If there ever was a teacher that was sentimental about her students, you just look around a classroom and you can see it was her,” said Justin Johnson, who was a former student of Schmidt’s.
Early this year, Crickett Schmidt lost her battle with cancer.
But even after her passing, in the sanctuary at St. John's United Methodist Church she claimed victory for everyone else. “You look around, and the number of people, it says a lot about the way Crickett lived her life,” said Corbin Schmidt.
“No student ever walked away thinking, ‘oh I’m in trouble with Ms. Schmidt,’ it was, ‘I’ve learned something from Ms. Schmidt.’ She makes you want to be a better person,” said Susan Bunker, who worked with Schmidt at Ben Bridge Jeweler. “Everything she did, everything she touched was floral, a beautiful thing.”
Schmidt’s spirit and her signature frogs are still at the airport in Delta Airlines where she spent summers working. “She left a hole here, she left frogs everywhere, she just loved everybody,” said Lisa Long, who worked with Schmidt there for years and said even out of the classroom she never stopped teaching or caring. “She took in our stray employees, took in our unaccompanied minors that were stranded.”
Crickett never stopped, period, even in her last days. “She said if you can find a way to bring me back to work and not tell people,” said Long. “Because she didn't know how are days were going to go, but all she wanted to do was be working.”
What Crickett gave rubbed off on others especially those she held the closest. Just ask her daughter, Christen Palmer, who became a teacher too. “I constantly channel my mom, and just try to think about how to help people.”
It’s a pattern some of Schmidt’s former students said she always followed. “When you would run into her in the community and you would tell her about your life and she would just say how proud she was of you,” said Cari Zawodny.
“She didn't care who you were, where you came from, anything like that, she would take anybody and everybody under her wings,” said Jon Dyson.
“I will miss her but all of us who knew her had lives that are fuller and are better because we knew her,” said Strickland.
“Know that she can now be with all us, she'll be looking down and taking care of all of us and none of us will ever walk alone,” said Corbin Schmidt.