Opelousas High School mourning the loss of young teacher

Posted at 9:19 PM, May 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-26 22:19:52-04

The Opelousas High School community is mourning the loss of one of their teachers who died Friday in a car crash near Opelousas.

Police say 24-year-old Hannah Vincent was driving home to Rayne Friday afternoon when she struck an empty car on the side of the road.

The impact caused her vehicle to veer across the median and crash head-on into an 18-wheeler.

Hannah’s sudden and tragic death is leaving those who knew her in shock.

Teachers and students at Opelousas High School say that Hannah, who taught agriculture, left a lasting impact on those who knew her. 

"She was a very positive role model. The kids gravitated towards her,” said Gwendolyn Villery, who teaches business education at the school.

They also say she was committed to her students and pushed them to find the best within themselves.

In addition to teaching, Hannah worked with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program, which gives students opportunities to broaden their education and network.

When Hannah took over the FFA program two years ago, she gave it her all, from everything to agricultural education to repainting the FFA sign outside of her classroom.

"She came and she touched up on it, and she gave it that pop of color, actually the kind of vibrancy that she displayed. It was just a reflection of who she was. When you look at it, it’s colorful, it’s inviting, and it’s bright, and that was Hannah,” said Villery.

Three FFA trips were already lined up for the students this summer.

"She wanted us to sell as much as we can to get what we needed for FFA, and every time I go into her classroom, she always has a new opportunity for us to raise money for our trips,” said junior FFA student Josie Franklin.

"She used to text me nonstop, telling me it was time for another trip to get me updated and to get them [the other FFA students] to actually come,” said senior FFA student Jaylin Tezno.

Administrators say there was never a project Hannah wouldn’t volunteer for to improve the school. She was selected as an outstanding teacher by the chamber of commerce.

"Hannah came from an FFA family. Both of her parents were FFA educators. She had such a base of knowledge by having that experience as a young child and then pursuing that at Louisiana Tech and through in-services, so she brought these ideas that are new and fresh and things that she had seen from across the country right here to Opelousas, Louisiana, right here to Opelousas High School,” explained Opelousas High School Assistant Principal Kathryn Cosgrove.

A crisis intervention team is at work to help the community grieve and to continue the legacy Hannah has left for them to carry on.