Twain ES Teacher Doesn’t Let Heart Attack Slow Him Down

Robert Bonn with student

Fourth-grade teacher Robert “Bobby” Bonn suffered a major heart attack just three short months ago — but you’d never know it just by looking at him.

The Twain ES educator still hasn’t missed a single day of class due to his health challenges, despite a fairly grim diagnosis initially.

“The outlook was pretty bleak three months ago,” said Twain Principal Melissa Patin. “The damage was so significant that he had to wear one of those LifeVests [a portable defibrillator for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest]. And he was told that there wasn’t much they could do.”

But Bonn’s heart began spontaneously healing itself over the summer — a feat he attributes to the love and support he received from students and the greater Twain community.

“There was not a staff member who didn’t visit, send me a card, or text me while I was in the hospital,” said Bonn. “All of my previous students sent cards and emailed as well. And several fathers, who are doctors at St. Luke’s, visited my room to check on me. My fourth-grade team and several administrators were by my bedside the five days I was there. They prayed for me, encouraged me, and inspired me to fight. My doctors and nurses kept asking if I needed to be alone because I had so many visitors, and I told them, ‘Absolutely not.’ I explained that I needed my Twain family there with me. And they agreed.”

“Parents adore him, students love him, and the staff treats him like a brother,” added Patin. “And Bobby has such a positive attitude. He said he could feel the love and support of everyone, and he hasn’t missed a beat. He loves his job so much. He was here for the first day of class and for every single day of the Rigor Institute. He is an inspiration to all of us.”

Bonn is also a highly effective teacher. Patin said his students’ value-added scores are in the “highly effective” range for both reading and math.

“One thing he does that I think is amazing is he meets with each of his students individually during the week to reflect on their work, clarify misunderstandings, and celebrate successes,” said Patin. “He knows his students’ strengths and also the areas for growth and develops targeted lessons to meet their needs. His encouraging, supportive tone really inspires the children to work hard and to be good citizens.”