Rachel N. Quinn lived her life guided by the virtue of kindness.
She pointed this out to her students at Bretton Woods Elementary School in Hauppauge, where her fifth-grade class webpage prominently displays an illustration that reads, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” The Patchogue resident wrote that she wanted two ideas to be constantly reflected on during the school year: “always do your best and have a growth mindset”; and “choose kindness”.
Like many children, Quinn had been bullied at school at times, her best friend, 21, Caitlyn Hansen of Hauppauge said.
“I think when Rachel decided to become a teacher, she wanted to instill this kindness in every one of her students, in every person she met,” said Hansen, 27. “I think it was something that she always wanted to embody and share with others.”
Quinn, 27, a pregnant woman, died suddenly of a heart defect on June 14 at the Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue. Her first child, Ellie Anne Quinn, who was due to arrive in a few weeks, also died.
Quinn, née Battaglia, was born in 1994 and raised in Smithtown, where she attended school in the Hauppauge neighborhood, participating in cheerleaders and choirs. She then obtained a BA in Pedagogy and an MA in Literacy and Cognition from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.
Quinn always sought to become a teacher in the district she attended, her family said. She has spent the past three years at Bretton Woods teaching fifth and fourth graders in special education, her husband, Nate, 32, said.
“A good teacher can change a child’s life and give them the confidence to be a better person,” said Nate Quinn, air traffic controller. “She wanted to be that person for the children of Hauppauge and really make a difference in the lives of some children.”
Danielle Sukoff, Rachel Quinn’s co-teacher in the class, arranged for a tree to be planted in front of the school in her memory. The redbud tree, which has heart-shaped leaves, was donated by Olsen’s Nursery in Smithtown, and Quinn’s students and family held a small ceremony last week.
“It means all the love she had for her students and gave to our entire community,” said Bretton Woods Principal George Gagliardi. “He was a loving and kind person who had a great passion for teaching and always put his students first.”
Additionally, the school’s Special Education PTA has renamed its annual Kindness Award in honor of Quinn. The prize, which this year went to fifth-graders Sadie Fox and Sahmuel Babyak, comes with a $ 25 Amazon gift card, but Nate Quinn gave the kids each an additional $ 250 gift card.
When not in the classroom, Rachel Quinn could usually be found dancing or reading. She loved her cat Colt, whom she adopted despite a neurological disease that made it difficult for her to walk.
After the couple adopted their miniature poodle, named Winnie after Quinn’s favorite animated character Winnie the Pooh, she told her husband that she wanted to bring the dog to the libraries while she read to young people. children.
Quinn was also a talented singer who enjoyed singing songs such as “Shallow” from the 2018 movie “A Star is Born”. On a Bermuda cruise, the group were so impressed with what they heard from Quinn that they pulled her out of the crowd and on stage to sing, her husband recalls.
Quinn met her future husband in 2015 during a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Patchogue. Three years later, the couple got married. Nate Quinn said his then-fiancée chose Lombardi’s on the Bay in Patchogue as a venue because she wanted to be married somewhere the couple could return years later to have dinner with their children.
“She saw it and said, ‘This is it. We can take our kids here and show them where mom and dad got married, ”her husband said.
Quinn loved children.
“Whenever we saw a child, she always wanted to hold him if he needed comfort,” he said. “She was so excited to have a baby. She was ready to spoil our daughter so much.”
Quinn was known for her generosity and thoughtfulness, whether it was choosing the right gift or throwing a surprise party for her parents’ 60th birthday. A few weeks ago, Quinn sent out thank you cards after her baby shower and took the time to “write everyone a novel” in pink ink, Hansen said.
“Everything had good intention and was so thoughtful, positive and kind,” she said. “She has always gone one step further with everything she has done.”
Quinn’s favorite saying was a quote from the movie “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin”:
“If ever there is a tomorrow when we are not together, there is something you have to remember … You are braver than you think and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think so. But the most important thing is even if we are apart, I will always be with you. “
Her brother, Rob Battaglia, 28, of Smithtown, said the quote reflected his sister’s attitude towards others.
“He was someone who was really trying to make the most of life and give back to society as much as possible, who was just trying to make the world a better place,” he said. “She had a big impact in a short period of time.”
Along with her husband and brother, Quinn is survived by her parents, Sandra and Robert Battaglia, and a younger sister, Reanna Battaglia, all of Smithtown.
Quinn and her daughter were buried in St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale.