NEW BRITAIN - The school system and the community on Monday mourned the death of one of the cityâ€™s leading educational figures - New Britain High School Band Director David Kayser.
The school district confirmed Kayserâ€™s death in a Facebook post late Sunday night. Kayser, who had headed the band since 2009, had been battling cancer. He died shortly after 6 p.m.
He was a beloved figure at NBHS. In less than 24 hours since the Facebook announcement went up, the post has received more than 450 â€ślikes,â€ť more than 300 â€śsharesâ€ť and more than 40 comments.
â€śIt has been an honor to work alongside you for so many years! I can honestly say that I have learned as much from you as any of our students,â€ť wrote NBHS Assistant Choral Director Jason Ferrandino in a Facebook comment. â€śYour memory lives on in the countless students you have inspired and the many colleagues who have been lucky enough to teach and perform alongside you.â€ť
â€śMy son and I are both heartbroken. My son looked up to him not only as the band director but as a father, as he would give my son advice on daily life situations,â€ť wrote Kenisha Estrella Berrios in her Facebook comment. â€śI remember meeting him for the first time and him giving me a hug and telling me how we were both special because we both fought cancer and survived. Here I am writing this and in tears because he was an amazing person all I can think of is his family, his kids.â€ť
Administrators also reflected on Kayserâ€™s passion and his impact on NBHS and the community.
Principal Joseph Pinchera said Kayserâ€™s passion for his work often meant long hours helping his students - even when he was battling cancer.
â€śWe couldnâ€™t keep him off the field,â€ť said Pinchera.
Paul Salina, chief operations officer for the school district and a former band director, said Kayser did a fantastic job of maintaining the tradition of the marching band.
â€śIf thereâ€™s one thing that New Britain is, itâ€™s full of traditions,â€ť Salina told The Herald. â€śDavid Kayser was also a person of tradition. â€¦ He embraced the traditions and carried them on through his tenure.â€ť
School Superintendent Nancy Sarra said Kayserâ€™s impact on the community is evident.
â€śDr. Kayser had the unique ability to relate to students of all ages. Whether a student was in elementary, middle or high school, he always found a way to make a connection and leave a lasting impact. This impact also carried over into the lives of many staff members, parents and community members,â€ť Sarra said. â€śHe has touched the lives of thousands of people throughout his career and leaves behind a tremendous legacy.â€ť
Pinchera said that Kayserâ€™s focus was always on his students and making sure they were successful.
â€śRight up to the end - when Paul [Salina] and I went up to visit David in the hospital - his number one concern was the kids, making sure they were OK for graduation and the uniforms were taken care of,â€ť Pinchera said. â€śThatâ€™s just David, a selfless individual.â€ť
A candlelight vigil will be held for Kayser tonight at 7:30 outside the high school auditorium.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.