Student messages fill empty classroom of teacher killed while riding bike

Posted at 11:11 PM, Oct 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-07 23:11:40-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Although students and staff were dismissed from South Christian High School Tuesday after learning a beloved teacher was killed, many of them stayed behind to fill his classroom with messages.

While the desks sat empty, words like, "I can't wait to see you in heaven," and "Rest in peace to the most crazy, loving, caring, sarcastic man I've ever met," were written on the whiteboard of Rodney Van Dyke's classroom.

Van Dyke, 50, from Hudsonville, was riding his bike to school in Georgetown Township Tuesday morning when he was hit by a car, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Principal George Guichelaar said Van Dyke worked at the school for more than 20 years and was a favorite among the students. He taught math and coached girl's golf.

Tuesday evening, students gathered at the school for prayer and wrote letters to their teacher, who many say proved to them he was more than an educator.

"He took his teaching seriously but he didn't take himself so seriously. That was his strength--that was his hallmark," Guichelaar said.

According to authorities the driver who hit Van Dyke didn't see him. He said the darkness coupled with an oncoming vehicle made it hard to see.

Officials also said that while Van Dyke was wearing a helmet and had lights on the front and back of his bike, he was also wearing dark clothing.

No funeral arrangements were announced as of Tuesday night.