A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 24, for Monique Christian Donecho, an art teacher at Laurel School in Menlo Park who passed away on May 15 at the age of 37 after a 15-month battle with breast cancer, according to the Menlo Park City School District.
The service will be at 11 a.m. at St. Charles Church, 880 Tamarack Ave. in San Carlos. There will be a reception in the church's Borromeo Hall following the memorial.
Donecho, a San Carlos resident, was an excellent teacher and valued colleague who will be remembered for her "wonderful, joyful laugh, which just bubbled up from inside of her," said fellow Laurel art teacher Christie Giacomozzi in a prepared statement.
Donecho began her career at Menlo-Atherton High School but settled at Laurel in 2011, where she taught kindergarten through fifth grade.
"She believed even young children could grasp high level art concepts, incorporating key elements from artists like Georgia O'Keefe, Renoir, Van Gogh and a vast array of materials and techniques into her teaching," according to a district statement.
Donecho elevated the quality of Laurel students' artwork with her bold, can-do approach, Art in Action volunteer and Laurel parent Cathy Tokic said in a statement.
She is survived by her husband Brian Donecho and their two boys, ages 5 and 7.
Brian Donecho, who met his wife at San Diego State University, recalls getting coffee with her on the way back to the dorms after their painting and photography classes. His wife's battle with cancer brought everyone who loved her closer together, he said.
"What we've learned as a family is the importance of living in the present," Brian Donecho said. "It's easy to become overwhelmed with the worries of the past and future. Each day is a gift and we learned to make the most of our family time."
Community members raised nearly $40,000 through a GoFundMe page over the last year to support Monique Christian Donecho. Since her death, people have offered condolences and made donations on the page to support the family.