2 Arizona educators die after contracting COVID-19
PHOENIX — Two Arizona educators have died due to the coronavirus in recent days.
Ash Friederich, 40, of Tolleson High School died Saturday evening after battling COVID-19, the district said in a statement.
Madison School District educator Nawai Kalai also died after testing positive for COVID-19.
Friederich was a former sportswriter in Tucson who became an English teacher in 2016 and was a coach on multiple different sports teams, according to the district.
His first year of coaching came in 2017 when he was an assistant coach for girls softball and basketball.
The following year, Friederich went on to become a JV coach for softball.
He then became an assistant coach for the freshman baseball team in 2019 before joining the staff of the freshman/sophomore football program this year.
Friederich also served as a sponsor for yearbook.
Tolleson announced on Friday that the remainder of the volleyball and football seasons would be canceled due to a spike in COVID-19 cases despite the football team having yet to play a game this year.
In addition to being an educator, Kalai was a musician that uploaded his work onto his own YouTube channel.
A GoFundMe has been set up in order to help his wife Denise with upcoming funeral expenses.
“We are all shocked by the sudden loss of our dear Friend Nawai Kalai,” the GoFundMe page’s statement read.
“Anyone who knew him knows what an amazing person he was. From his amazing voice and musical talent to his golden heart, we all without a doubt, have a warm memory of Nawai. He was there if you needed him, lent a hand to anyone who needed it and was an amazing husband to our sweet Denise.”