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On Dec. 31, 2016, Pinewood Lower Campus teacher Leslie Balogh passed away at age 72. Balogh taught various courses at Pinewood over 37 years, positively influencing the lives of countless students before she retired five years ago in 2012.

In Balogh’s free time, she loved to play golf and bridge and spend time with her family. Helping young students reach their full potential, Balogh was a passionate teacher and an adored friend by the faculty at Lower Campus.

Balogh’s fellow faculty members remember her fondly.

“Her sense of humor cheered us all whenever we needed it. She could say the most hilarious things sometimes about herself. But she just had an outlook on the children, on teaching, and on the staff that was appreciative and she could weave that appreciation into a humorous statement,” Lower Campus language arts teacher Alice Johnson said.

Balogh’s teaching techniques live on in Johnson’s classroom. She uses Balogh’s “medallion” system which awards students for outstanding behavior, encouraging a respectful and involved class.

“She had very high expectations, and it motivated the children to do their very best all the time, and the result of that was they learned skills and mastered them, and so they had the joy of becoming confident in their abilities. She really knew how to bring out the best in the children,” Johnson said.

Senior Alex Banning was a student in Balogh’s class 11 years ago. Banning loved to joke around in Balogh’s class.

“She sent me to the office probably 100 times… she was hard on me, and at the time I didn’t really understand it. Looking back on it now, however, it really set me on a better path in life than where I was going,” Banning said.

Balogh’s cause of death was Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease, an incredibly rare neurodegenerative disease. Unfortunately, little is known about the disease, but the Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease Foundation is helping to raise awareness and advocate for victims and families of victims of CJD.

Balogh’s memorial service was held Jan. 28 at the Saratoga Federated Church. She will always be remembered as a loving, hilarious friend, and a devoted mother to her two sons Scott and Jason, and an inspirational teacher. Her memory will live on within the Pinewood community and in the hearts of all her loved ones.

Thank you, Ms. Balogh.