Daniel's teacher remembers the little boy with a huge heart
AS THE annual show of community support for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation draws near, one of his first school teachers has remembered the bright-eyed, polite kid who shared an inseparable bond with his twin brother Bradley.
Mountain Creek State School teacher Janis Staatz was Daniel's Year 3 teacher.
She mentored Daniel during the first year of schooling he'd experienced in a different classroom to Bradley.
"He really missed Bradley because Bradley was always the 'big brother', the more outgoing of the two," she recalled today.
"Daniel was very soft, very gentle, I remember that."
Mrs Staatz recalled the duo as almost inseparable at break times, battling to hide her emotions at times as she remembered the excellent student who "got on with everybody".
"That bond between the boys was very, very, very strong," she said.
As the Coast community gears up for tomorrow's Walk for Daniel, an annual event to remember the young boy who was abducted and murdered on December 7, 2003, Mrs Staatz said it was always a difficult time of year, but much like Daniel's parents, Bruce and Denise, she was determined to use the tragedy to help protect other kids.
"I find it really hard to see the photos and you just remember," she said, emotion clear in her voice.
"You try to turn it around to a good thing to make sure I can give that message to the kids, a strong message about being careful and I suppose we push it all the time at school.
"It certainly does remind the kids and reminds us to remind parents."
One of the inaugural students of Mountain Creek State School, Daniel was the sixth-ever student enrolled at the school when it opened in 1994, and it was clear after visiting the campus, that the school would never forget the little boy who never made it home.