GREENSBORO, NC -- The story of a Guilford County School teacher who disappeared last month has touched so many lives in so many ways.
Bianca Tanner was not only a beloved teacher, but also a mentor who was involved in student's lives at Reedy Fork Elementary School. That's how Keisha Edwards met her last year. Tanner was the president of Edwards' children's Modeling Club at the school.
Edwards said when police found remains they believed to be Tanner's, it set off mixed emotions.
"There is a body…it's looking like it might be her, but that glimmer of hope is that it's not her and she's still somewhere out here," Edwards said.
But whatever the Medical Examiner's report concludes, the mother of two said she has started her emotional journey on the difficult road of mourning her children's beloved mentor.
"They would meet with her at least once a week and she would teach them confidence and how to be secure in yourself and how to be a diva," she said.
Edwards is the PTA board president at Reedy Fork – the school Tanner taught second grade for seven years.
"We all adored Bianca. She was at the school from day one," Edwards said. "Every time I saw her she always had a smile so I think that's something that my kids and everybody else will hold on to, is that beautiful smile."
The ribbons that have adorned the school pillars since the search began have been a constant symbol of hope: hope that Ms. Tanner would be back next year, hope that she would walk the "Rain Forest Trail" - one of the hallways leading to her class – again next year, and hope that she'd once again be the Reedy Fork Ranger who was so loved in Room 401.
"Today, it does still symbolize hope. We hope the best for whatever the situation is. Right now, to my knowledge nothing has still been confirmed so there's still hope for me," Edwards said.
Edwards also said her children have had a lot of questions about Ms. Tanner's disappearance.
We asked Karen Meadows a counselor with Guilford County Schools how parents should broach the topic in light of her death.
Meadows said, "I wouldn't ignore it, but I would take the cues from my child. Every parent knows their child best. You don't want them to hear it in school with no mental preparation that will be my advice. If you feel the need to go ahead and address it, bring it up, if you think they might hear about it later and be more devastated then that's a personal call you'll have to make."
Even though school is out for summer, GCS is offering information for parents on how to talk with their kids. They have an entire page with tips. You can access it here.
Reedy Fork Elementary School Principal Denise Schroeder released the statement below following the Thursday's developments:
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Bianca Tanner at this sad news. She was a dedicated teacher and colleague, and her loss will be felt by those who had the privilege to know her. We will continue to keep her loved ones in our thoughts and prayers."