Dr. Sue A. in El Paso, Texas. Zelen Blankas, a first-grade teacher at Shook Elementary School, died Monday, his family told CNN. He was 10 years old in his career as a teacher.
“She was like my Wonder Woman,” Blanks said. “She was my backbone, and she was like my second mother, even though we’re only four years apart.”
The way he lived his life and how he spread the message of compassion to his students and everyone around him is how his family wanted to remember Zelin.
“Sometimes being a teacher is kind of tough … she was always looking in a positive way,” said Blankas. “I didn’t know until today, but she was a walking King Angel.”
Zelen Blankas is survived by her parents, Gloria Luna and Victor Blankas, her brother and niece Natalia. Her children were her two dogs, Rocky and Chico.
She taught students to be kind
Chavira said she remembers when Blankas captured the video before the holiday break in November 2018. The video showed a student in the class choosing a hug, handshake, high five or fist bump.
“It was his class every day. It was nothing like he did something special or something new,” Chavira said. “The culture in her classroom was very caring, very loving. She taught her children to be kind to each other and to truly see each other as a family.”
The video was a glimpse of the kind of classroom atmosphere that excites Blanks and introduces who the teacher is.
“She was herself,” Chavira said. “She tells you the culture she created in her class.”
Blankas was a bilingual teacher and most of her students were learning English, Chavira said. Some of his students were new to the country and some were new to the field. It was on the blanks that both parents and students felt comfortable.
“Teachers do more than teach,” he said. “The success she had in her class, with her students, with her families, was because she had a passion for differentiating and moving students beyond the disciplines.”
Chavira said Blanks was the first to help new colleagues and the first to help anyone in need.
“We are all saddened because we know what a great future she had ahead,” Chavira said. “She was a shining star. Our community, our students, her family, that smile, that love, that warmth that she contributed is short.”
“You can see Blanks’ passion” the moment you meet him, “Chavira said.
She spreads love and kindness with pink socks
That passion spread around the world in many tweets spread by Blanks about his work with his students, his classroom and the nonprofit.
Nick Duckins, the Blackons met on Twitter in 2018, when he saw a video of him hugging his students and leaving the classroom.
The idea, he said, is that anyone who gets pink socks becomes part of a mission to spread love and empathy, and Blankas “lived up to the idea of giving gifts every day,” he said.
“Zelen Blankas was the best of humanity,” Adkins wrote. “The ripple effect of love and kindness she put into the universe she taught her children for years.”
Adkins has been hired by CNN. Wrote that Blankas lives this mission and her legacy is a mission
“Mrs. Blancas and the entire staff and students at Shook are what we all should strive for now and for every day, every now and then. The love she has taught and spread, she lives on.”
Pinx Life raised money and donated 1,337 pink socks to the school, Adkins wrote in a blog post.
“Her idea was originally to promote compassion because there’s been a lot of bullying there lately, so she wanted to flip it over and convert those students and believe in compassion,” her brother said.
Blankas said his sister is working on a project of her own passion, one hope she can come to light. She was writing a children’s book and the pictures were already drawn, he said.
It was his sister who also inspired Blankas to become a teacher’s assistant and follow in his footsteps, he said.
“She was a mentor to me personally and professionally,” Blankas said. “Thanks to her I am going to follow her legacy and I will go on to become a teacher.”