Eric Anderson was a generous soul, a passionate leader and everybody’s friend who wanted nothing but the best for students and Kentridge High School.
“He would say, ‘It’s a great day to be a Charger.’ He believed that every day,” said Kentridge principal Mike Albrecht, a friend and colleague of Anderson for 20 years. “He was the face of Kentridge.”
Anderson, a teacher, coach and Kentridge’s longtime athletic and activities director, unexpectedly died in his sleep at home early Saturday morning. He was 57.
Students, families and alumni nearly filled the Kentridge gymnasium for a candlelight vigil Monday night to honor and remember Anderson. Students exclusively organized the vigil, and ASB leaders moderated and spoke at the ceremony.
Anderson would have approved of such a powerful event, Albrecht said.
“He wanted the prom to be as good as the Friday night football game,” Albrecht said. “He expected the best out of his students. … He wanted them to have the best experience here.
“We all leave a legacy, and his legacy is this — the outpouring of the amount of people that he touched, and the amount of lives that he influenced is demonstrated by this,” Albrecht said of the vigil. “He was very much a colleague, a confidant, an advisor, and, best of all, he was a good friend.
“It’s incredibly shocking that we have lost him.”
Anderson taught in the Kent School District since 1985 after previously working for the Tonasket and Enumclaw school districts. He began teaching at Kentridge in 1998 and became the athletic and activities director at the high school in 2000.
Emily Ngonevolalath, a 2017 Kentridge graduate, waited patiently in a long line to sign a memorial book while clutching a bundle of white carnations. She frequently visited Anderson during her time at the school and enjoyed being around such an energetic man, “a great guy.”
“He had open arms for everybody,” Ngonevolalath said. “He was very outgoing and made sure high school was more an experience than a task. You got involved and got the most out of high school.”
ASB president Adrian Tirtu will miss Anderson’s levity, leadership, love for his work and his ability to guide others.
“He was always so witty, he was always cracking jokes,” Tirtu said. “He really showed that he not only cared about his job but his students. He showed a lot of passion in what he did and how he dealt with students.”
Kentridge staff members were notified by email Saturday of Anderson passing away from unknown causes, pending an autopsy.