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New Trier Community Mourns Former Teacher, Administrator

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Jan Borja

Former New Trier freshman campus principal Jan Borja has died. (Credit: New Trier Township High School)

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NORTHFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Students and staff at New Trier High School are grieving over the weekend death of a former teacher and administrator.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, classes are canceled for one day this week in a show of respect.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Jan Borja, a staff member at New Trier for 40 years and principal of the freshman campus in Northfield for the last 11, retired at the end of last school year after she had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her lungs.

Borja died early Saturday morning.

New Trier Supt. Linda Yonke says the entire New Trier community is grieving.

“Everyone that’s been here more than a year has been touched by Jan in some way and knows her,” she said.

Classes at both the Northfield campus and the main campus in Winnetka are canceled on Wednesday because so many wanted to attend the funeral.

“Everyone loved Jan and wants to be a part of this final goodbye to her,” Yonke said.

Borja began her career at New Trier in 1970, teaching German and Spanish. Soon afterward, she began serving in leadership roles, including as adviser chair for freshman and sophomore girls, and as the chair of the Modern and Classical Languages Department, New Trier said in a news release.

She became the first principal of the Northfield campus when it reopened as a freshman campus in 2001, New Trier said.

During her tenure, she focused on integrating service learning into the freshman curriculum, and addressed students’ emotional and social growth with programs such as the anti-bullying effort, “names Can Really Hurt Us,” New Trier said.

Borja’s wake is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Donnellan Funeral Home, at 10045 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie. Her funeral will be Wednesday at the auditorium at the New Trier Northfield campus, at 7 Happ Rd. in Northfield.

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