Ronnie Smith, an American chemistry teacher who spent more than a year teaching at an international school in Libya, was killed in Benghazi Thursday, The school's principal, Peter Hodge, tells NBC News that Smith, 33, was "very much loved" at the school.
"He was the most amazing person, more like a best friend or a family member," a student, 18, says.
The student added that for teenagers who were coping with the turmoil that has beset Libya, Smith was a motivator, telling them that they would be fine if they focused on their studies.
Smith was a native of Austin, Texas, according to that city's KXAN News. The AP reports that he was shot by unknown assailants as he jogged in the area near the U.S. consulate, the site of an attack that killed an American ambassador and others in September 2012.
From Agence France-Presse:
"International School Benghazi director Adel al-Mansuri said Smith, who was married and the father of a two-year-old boy, had joined the faculty as a chemistry teacher late last year.
"Mansuri said Smith had been set to return home next week for the year-end holidays, but it was not immediately clear whether his wife and son were with him."
A look at Smith's Twitter feed shows his engagement with his students — his description on the account is "Libya's best friend."
The account also reveals Smith's life as a father and husband who jokes about being sent on errands by his wife.
His death provoked an outpouring of grief from the group Libyan Youth Movement, some of whose staff members were friends with the American teacher. The group tweeted today, "It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the death of Ronnie Smith." It also extended condolences and prayers to Smith's family.
According to its website, the International School in Benghazi follows a British curriculum and employs many teachers with international experience. It is affiliated with the GEMS Education company, a network of schools on several continents.
Student Lujain Beruwien, 16, whose family had moved back to Libya from Scotland, tells NBC News that Smith helped her adjust to Benghazi.
"Because I'm from the U.K. and he's from America we were always trying to outdo each other," she said. "It's really upsetting that he has died. The majority of Libyans want the country to develop but the others are just trying to ruin things for everyone. We're not going to stand for this."
Puzzle Guru John Chaneski leads this final round in which every correct answer is the name of a real or fictional doctor, most of whom you shouldn't go to for medical advice. Except maybe Dr. Who. Bonus trivia question: On The Muppet Show, who led the house band and played the keyboards?
There are songs that express heartfelt emotions, telling stories of love or loss that are both universal and deeply personal. Then there are songs that are pretty much just lists of things. This game covers those songs, though house musician Jonathan Coulton and VIP Nellie McKay have cheekily swapped out some of the items. Raindrops on roses and what on what, again?
Satin-voiced singer, adventurous songwriter and theater provocateur Nellie McKay has frequented NPR airwaves, but never before like this. Normal as Blueberry Pie, McKay's fourth record, was made in tribute to the legendary singer and actress Doris Day. So naturally, being a trivia show, we wanted to see just how much McKay knew about the icon.
McKay discovered Day's work in an unusual way. While in high school, she went to an animal rights protest at the Baltimore Aquarium, and afterwards, while waiting for the bus to take her back home to the Poconos, she happened to wander into a record store. Her eye caught a photo still from Romance on the High Seas, Day's 1948 film debut, and it was love at first sight. A bit of an old soul herself, McKay said she connected with Day's music, acting and life story immediately. "In gym class, I'd try to put [Day] on, and they all wanted to listen to Destiny's Child," she told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg.
While McKay has lent her voice to a previous episode of Ask Me Another, now it was her turn in the puzzle hot seat, and she was up for the challenge. To test the extent of her Doris Day fandom, we called upon a worthy opponent: Tom Santopietro, author of the biography Considering Doris Day. Together the two Day devotees demonstrated their savvy for her films, her phone demeanor and her shout-out in an indelible song by a little band known as Wham!
Plus, in the Web extra on this page, hear what music McKay listens to when she wants to relax, and why she brought a pair of leopard-print, "second-hand love cuffs" to give away to the grand winner as a prize.
On whether she uses iTunes
I don't have a playlist, because I abhor technology. I think it's done far more harm than good.
On the music (on vinyl) she listens to when she wants to relax
I was just in Mississippi, and I picked up some Stanley Turrentine, and some James Booker and a wonderful album ... about a British Pathé in the West Indies, and it goes into the whole history there from the '20s to the present. It's got a wonderful range of musical styles. It was great to travel through Appalachia listening to that African three-against-four rhythm. It was completely unapropos.
What's up with those handcuffs, Nellie?
Love cuffs. I got them at Goodwill. They're gently used. They still have the keys, which I think is quite rare.
In the video below, McKay performs the pop standard "The Very Thought of You," which Doris Day famously sang in the 1950 film Young Man with a Horn.
In this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg, we've removed the "x" sound in various words and phrases. Your job is to put the "x" back, based on the clue. For example, if she said, "Put an "x" in "hagon" to get a six-sided geometric shape, you would answer "hexagon."