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TWIN FALLS — Current and former Lincoln Elementary School families are invited to a candlelight vigil Friday night to remember principal Beth Olmstead.

Olmstead — who was the school’s principal for 18 years — died July 4 at age 58. A vigil to honor her begins at 9 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary’s front entrance.

Trisha Hermann, one of the vigil organizers, was in sixth-grade when Olmstead became Lincoln Elementary principal. Now, Hermann’s daughter is a Lincoln student who’s going into second-grade next school year.

Olmstead was there for two generations of the family’s school experiences. “She became not only a principal, but like family,” Hermann said Thursday.

Olmstead was also a huge part of the Twin Falls community, she said. “It’s one thing for family to mourn her, but it’s a completely different thing for the community to get together to celebrate her life.”

During the vigil Friday night, attendees will place candles along the steps leading up to the school’s front door. Poster board will be available for students and parents to sign and write messages. Ribbons in Lincoln Elementary’s school colors will be available to tie along on the school’s fence line.

With multiple ways to remember Olmstead, it’s a nod to how she did things at the school. “She was one of the people who always went big or go home,” Hermann said.

Hermann and her mother, Sharlena Combs, are working together to plan the vigil. Combs said Thursday she wanted to organize an event because “something more had to be done” and Olmstead was an important person to her family. “I couldn’t just do nothing.”

Combs said Olmstead was influential in helping her children. “She tried so hard with my son to keep him in school and she just became such a close friend of mine.”

Olmstead started with the Twin Falls School District in 1992 as a substitute teacher. She taught sixth-grade from 1994 to 1999 at Bickel Elementary School, and was vice principal at Oregon Trail and I.B. Perrine elementary schools during the 1999-2000 school year.

In 2000, she became principal at Lincoln Elementary, where she spent the rest of her career.

“I want people to realize that she was the best,” Combs said. “She’s going to be missed so badly, but this is our way of saying thanks and letting the family know we are here and we are going to stand behind her no matter what.”


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