‘Awesome daughter, wonderful mom.’ Atlanta teacher dies from lupus

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Dionne Huggins’ former students showed up at her classroom door at the beginning of her second year of teaching, hoping she would still teach them, her mother recalled.

“She would tell them, ‘No you’ve moved up.’ (They said), ‘No, Ms. Huggins, we want to continue in your class!’” her mother, Denise Huggins, said.

Dionne Huggins, a teacher at Burgess-Peterson Academy in Atlanta Public Schools, passed away Saturday after battling lupus, according to her family. She was 48.

Most recently, Huggins was Burgess-Peterson’s Gifted and Talented lead teacher but taught first grade before that.

The oldest of five siblings, Denise says Dionne was a caretaker.

“She was an awesome daughter, a wonderful mom,” she said. “She loved her family and she loved her career. Dionne was just a good person all the way around. She just took care of all of us.”

Dionne has one son, Jackson, 12, who will live with family members in Atlanta.

The Burgess-Peterson community established a GoFundMe page to help with hospital expenses after she fell ill in January. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues.

“She fought a very hard fight,” her mother said. “She’s such a fighter. You couldn’t say things were scary. She (would) always say, ‘No, it’s challenging.’”

Denise said Jackson takes after his mother. She hopes that will someday include becoming a Clemson Tiger. Dionne graduated from Clemson in 1997.

“We take him every year to a football camp at Clemson,” she said, adding that he will attend this year too.

The family is currently planning a celebration of Dionne Huggins’ life for June 11. They have not decided on a time or place yet.