CENTRAL FALLS - Flags fly at half staff outside the Ella Risk Elementary School in Central Falls after the unexpected death of principal Maureen Azar.
Teachers, students, and parents walked with heavy hearts after school was dismissed on this somber day.
"She was a good principal. She cared about the kids, she was dedicated to them. I've known her for 5 years so, and I just had a conversation with her on Friday so it's hitting me kind of hard," said Ebony Medina, a parent at Ella Risk.
Azar was born and raised in Central Falls. She was a 1981 grad of the high school. She began her career as a gym teacher and became vice principal in 2001 and then was promoted to principal in 2008..
"It was really easy to work with her, it made me very comfortable knowing she was a leader here at the school," said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa.
Azar is described as an active member of the school's environment, making it tough for the kids to cope with her loss.
"Really I know my granddaughters going to be having a hard time because of what happened," said Paula Jesus.
"The school had them draw pictures for the family and stuff which is really nice, so the family is going to get the pictures and everything and everyone's just speechless, we don't even know what to think," said Medina.
Grief counselors have been made available to students and faculty at Ella Risk.