The Tallassee school system is mourning the loss of one of their own. Southside Middle School Principal Alan Thompson died in a wreck Saturday night.
This year coming back from the holiday break, Southside Middle School teacher Mahua Ghosh says an emptiness lingers in the hall.
"I have been in shock and numb for the last two days," she says.
State troopers say Southside Principal Alan Thompson was killed in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Alabama 14 and Cherokee Trail Road on Saturday night.
Ghosh says she was close with Thompson. His son is in her class.
Guidance Counselor Pam Cox is making a sign to hang in their principal's memory for students to see when they come back from the break.
"Students were very close with him, because he was always out and interacting with them and talking with them," Cox says.
Cox says she was in Birmingham when she found out about Thompson's death, and immediately went to his home to be with his three children.
"His oldest son Cody has been like a rock," she says.
Thompson has been an educator for 12 years, and started at Southside Middle in May. But in these last eight months, Band Director Michael Bird says he's made a difference.
"One of the things Mr. Thompson wanted to do was build a relationship with the community, and he wanted to do it in a hurry," Bird says.
A black ribbon hangs on the front door of the school. A reminder to students, parents and faculty that their principal is still smiling.
"I have never seen Mr. Thompson not smiling," says Ghosh.
But this time, it's from heaven.
Tuesday is when students return to school, and before they head to class, there will be an assembly to explain to students what happened to their principal and to remember him.
As of this afternoon, funeral arrangements are still being made.
Troopers say they will not comment on the cause of the accident until the traffic report is released tomorrow. Investigators say the other driver involved did not suffer from any injuries.