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Personal tragedy elicits professional support and kindness

After a fire destroyed RHMS math teacher Chris Noren’s apartment, her school community rallied to support her.

By RHMS student Zoe Zizzo; photos courtesy of RHMS student Molly Mceowen, and Jack Ryckman

August 15 was like any other day for Chris Noren, a new sixth grade math teacher at Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS).  Noren left that morning to hike a 14er with her son, Spencer, but, when she returned home to her apartment building in Littleton, it turned out to be anything but an ordinary day.  “We got home when the flames had just started on the deck and then it just spread from there,” Noren stated.  “We got home just in time to get the dog out of the house.”

The fire that started on the deck of the apartment adjacent to Noren’s was very devastating and quickly spread to her apartment. “Everything is gone and has been destroyed,” exclaimed Noren.  All that the family had left were the clothes on their backs. The night of the fire Noren had to run out to the store to gather things together to get them through the night such as toilet paper, linens, and an air mattress.  The next few days were spent getting basic things like clothes and bath towels.  “Just those basic things we are starting to slowly get back together.  It still doesn’t quite feel real,” Noren stated two weeks after the fire.

Luckily, the Noren family isn’t alone in getting through this. The parents, students and fellow teachers and staff at RHMS have greatly helped the Noren family.  Noren refers to the people at RHMS as her “school family” and has received a great deal of support and comfort from them.  The RHMS community set up a fundraising website for the family and thus far has raised nearly $5,000.   “You can live without a lot of stuff;” Noren said, “we can live on the bare minimum.”  The Norens are sleeping on air mattresses and living without many necessities.  Not only has this fire been emotionally draining for the family, it has also been financially draining.

To contribute to the fund to help the Noren family, visit

RHMS sixth grade math teacher Chris Noren lost her home in a fire shortly after the school year started, leaving her without many everyday necessities.



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