Westside students mourn loss of social studies teacher

Westside High School students were stunned to learn today that one of their social studies teachers had died a day earlier, perhaps from a lethal reaction to medication, Principal Laura Perkins said.

Robert Dzienis, 52, died Monday. He was in his first year teaching world history to sophomores at Westside.

He had also taught at Hutchings Career Center and Appling Middle School in Bibb County during a span of more then 15 years, to leave a lasting impression on educators and his students, Perkins said.

She left an education conference in Atlanta early when she learned the news Monday. Westside students were told today morning while grief counselors were on hand. A substitute took over Dzienis schedule.

Perkins said his closest relatives are in Columbus where his funeral services will be held Saturday morning. Westside faculty also plan to hold a memorial service at the school later this week for educators and students.

Dzienis was recognized for his work, being named recipient of the McKibben Lane Teacher of Excellence Award and as a teacher of the year at Appling Middle.

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