S. Valley community raises money to honor teacher

FRESNO, Calif.

41-year-old Scott Nelson died in August after crashing his bicycle into a jogger outside Exeter.

Saturday students, teachers and parents took part in a walkathon to raise money to build a special tribute to Nelson.

Nelson taught math while coaching football at Mount Whitney High School for years.

He died the day before the start of this school year.

Soon after he passed away, students began raising money for a scoreboard to overlook the track their teacher loved coaching on.

They say it's their way of honoring the life of their favorite teacher.

Ryan Dudley still misses his calculus teacher six months after his death.

"He was one of my favorite, best teachers I ever had and I think I should be here to support him and show that he had an impact on my life," Dudley said.

On Saturday, Dudley and about a hundred others from the Mount Whitney High School community circled their track for a walkathon.

Every person who took part, donated at least $5 to erect a scoreboard in Nelson's honor.

"Even after everyone who had him as a teacher graduates, there will still be something here visible to remember him by," Dudley said.

Since his death in August, students and staff at the school have been holding events to raise the $8 thousand to pay for the board.

"At basketball games, we will go around with buckets and ask people if they would like to donate and they usually do, and we also have buckets in the classrooms and when I read the bulletin in the morning, I tell them to pass it around and that's how we get some of the money," student Lacy Ruth said.

On Saturday they collected the cash to make it happen.

Students tell Action News the inspiring teacher made studying calculus fun.

"His main thing was always about pushing yourself and doing the best you can and even if you are not able to do it, do your best," Dudley said.

Nelson was also a former student at Mount Whitney.

His high school friends, who are now parents of students at the high school, also attended Saturday's event.

They say his death had a huge impact on the school family.

"He was just a great guy, he was just nice, he had a great disposition, he had a gentle spirit," Melissa Slover of Visalia said.

Scott Nelson's brother Randy is also a teacher at Mount Whitney.

He has now taken over teaching Nelson's classes.

Students say they are aiming to have the Scott Nelson Memorial Scoreboard up sometime before spring.

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