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David Rutenberg, the 8-year-old Merion, Pa., boy who was severely burned in the plane crash that claimed two of his classmates and U.S. Senator John Heinz last April, has returned to class at Merion Elementary School.

The two-engine plane carrying Mr. Heinz and others collided with a helicopter in midair, showering the school playground and building with flaming debris. ('See Education Week, April 10, 1991 .) David suffered burns over nearly 70 percent of his body.

Wearing a nylon bodysuit and mask because of scarring, David returned as a 3rd grader.

Personnel from the Crozer-Chester Medical Center and the Alfred I. duPont Institute, where David was treated, conducted assemblies to prepare students for David's return and educate them on the special needs of badly burned children.

Willie Davis, a custodian at Midvale Elementary School in DeKalb County, Ga., never learned to read, but was known for his devotion to the students he served.

So great was the bachelor's devotion that he remembered the school in his will.

Mr. Davis, who died of cancer in April, left one-third of his insurance benefits to a class for 1st graders with behavior disorders.

The teachers used part of the $12,716 to buy audiovisual and computer equipment and banked the rest.

Oct. 1 was declared Willie Davis Day by the DeKalb County Board of Education. .

Vol. 11, Issue 06, Page 3

Published in Print: October 9, 1991, as People News
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