Grieving students of St Johns College Dubbo have been leaving beautiful flowers in an unoccupied office this week.
Missing is a teacher who helped shape the future and careers of an estimated 2100 Year 12 college students.
Diane Quade, known within education circles for her professionalism and dedication to students, died on Sunday from cancer "complications".
On Friday, the college's Year 12 students will form a guard of honour in Brisbane Street after Mrs Quade's funeral at St Brigid's Catholic Church.
The college had been planning for the 55-year-old teacher's return to work in the "long term".
"Her passing was a shock to all of us," college principal Kerry Morris said.
"She died peacefully from complications from her cancer on Sunday evening surrounded by the love of her family.
"We are all praying for both Di's husband Michael and daughter Georgie."
Mrs Quade joined the college's staff 26 years ago.
She was the Year 12 coordinator from 2000 to 2020 and in 2019 "added the daily organisation of staff" to her workload.
Mrs Quade also supported senior students as the stage six careers and pathways adviser and TAFE VET coordinator.
"Her extensive knowledge of career, university and TAFE opportunities has given the college Year 12 students very successful outcomes from their HSC experience for 21 years," the principal said.
"She has had a career that has touched the lives of so many staff and students throughout the college community.
"Her personal commitment to Year 12 students and to the success of the college was resolute.
"We owe so much to her both professionally and personally.
"Mrs Quade was an outstanding teacher, leader, mentor, role model to students and staff alike, and a dear friend we all loved."
Mrs Morris told of a "deep sadness" at the college.
"Staff and Year 12 students alike are struggling as we all try and maintain a focus this week to support one another and be strong for the students to ensure a stable environment for learning in classes," she said.
"We all know that Di would want business as usual.
"She did not like fuss and instead took a pragmatic approach to life.
"Di also was a person of deep and unwavering faith."