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Columbine High’s Stalwart Principal Will Retire at School Year’s End

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Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis, a hero to his school, his community, and in many ways the nation, said he plans to retire at the end of the school year, according to Jeffco Schools.

Back in 1999, it was DeAngelis who was charged with keeping the school and the community together. Fourteen years ago this week, it was DeAngelis who spoke to teachers and students at a rally held at the school in Littleton, Colorado, just four months after two gunmen sent them all fleeing in horror. It was DeAngelis who encouraged students to reclaim Columbine High, to stride confidently through the doors on this day for the start of the school year with high-fives and cheers of “We are Columbine!”

AP Photo/George Kochaniec

AP Photo/George Kochaniec

Here’s DeAngelis’ retirement letter, per FOX 31′s Jeremy Hubbard:

This is a special year at Columbine High School as we celebrate the 40 Year Anniversary. The Columbine School Community is truly special and I have been blessed to have spent the past 34 years at CHS. I want to take this opportunity to inform you that I have decided to retire after this school year. It has been my privilege to lead this wonderful school through the best and worst of times. The support of our families and the Columbine community has meant the world to me; I have been profoundly honored and humbled to be a part of the Columbine family. I can never thank you enough for the continued support that you have given me over the past four decades as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and the past 18 years as principal.
 
It has given me great pleasure to see many of my former students’ children attending and graduating from Columbine High School. I felt it might be time to retire before a student informs me that I taught their grandparents. Thank you for 18 memorable years as principal of this extraordinary school. I know that I will shed a lot of tears, tears of joy and tears of sadness; and I know that the memories of my time at Columbine will last for a lifetime. I am eternally grateful. Wherever my next journey in life takes me, my heart will always be with Columbine.
 
“You’re A Columbine Rebel for Life and No One Can Ever Take That Away From You”
 
We Are Columbine!
 
Sincerely,
Frank DeAngelis
Principal

SEE ALSO:
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Media Reports After Columbine and 9/11 Were Just as Wrong

After Newtown, CBS interviewed DeAngelis for his reaction:

“DeAngelis is pretty open about the personal toll the shootings had on his life,” ABC7 noted today. “His marriage of 17 years fell apart, and doctors warned him of raised blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”

It’s the end of an era: DeAngelis, a former social studies teacher, has been principal of Columbine High School since 1996.

Brooke Allison, senior class president, hugs Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis  at a memorial service on the third anniversary of the tragedy at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on Saturday, April 20, 2002.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Brooke Allison, senior class president, hugs Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis at a memorial service on the third anniversary of the tragedy at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on Saturday, April 20, 2002. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Anne Marie Hochalter, who was paralyzed in the Columbine High School tragedy, addressed a memorial service for the Columbine High School tragedy in Littleton, Colo., on Tuesday evening, April 20, 2004. Applauding in the background is Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis. (AP Photo/Rob Stuehrk)

Anne Marie Hochalter, who was paralyzed in the Columbine High School tragedy, addressed a memorial service for the Columbine High School tragedy in Littleton, Colo., on Tuesday evening, April 20, 2004. Applauding in the background is Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis. (AP Photo/Rob Stuehrk)

Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis is illuminated by his candel during a memorial service for the Columbine High School tragedy in Littleton, Colo., on Tuesday evening, April 20, 2004.(AP Photo/Rob Stuehrk)

Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis is illuminated by his candel during a memorial service for the Columbine High School tragedy in Littleton, Colo., on Tuesday evening, April 20, 2004.(AP Photo/Rob Stuehrk)

From left, Dawn Anna Beck, mother of one of the victims of the massacre at Columbine High School, is joined by the school's principal, Frank DeAngelis, and former President Bill Clinton, in standing during the singing of the National Anthem before a groundbreaking ceremony for a memorial to the victims of the school massacre on Friday, June 16, 2006, in Littleton, Colo.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

From left, Dawn Anna Beck, mother of one of the victims of the massacre at Columbine High School, is joined by the school’s principal, Frank DeAngelis, and former President Bill Clinton, in standing during the singing of the National Anthem before a groundbreaking ceremony for a memorial to the victims of the school massacre on Friday, June 16, 2006, in Littleton, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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