Saturday, May 8, 2021

Coronado High School Teacher Ray Yannaccone Succumbs to Cancer

The Coronado school community grieves the loss of high school teacher Ray Yannaccone who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on February 19, 2021 at the age of 61.

CHS teacher Mr. Y passed away from pancreatic cancer on February 19, 2021.

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Mr. Yannaccone, fondly known as Mr. Y, taught English at Coronado High School (CHS) and Musical Theatre in Coronado School of the Arts (CoSA) during his 22 years with the Coronado Unified School District. Most recently, he taught English for 10th grade and 12th grade high school students. Mr. Y was a beloved teacher to many students at CHS who created a safe space for students to connect.

CHS student Allison Wygal recalled her time in Mr. Y’s English 10 class, “Something thoughtful he did was always make sure everyone was focused. By making sure I was always focusing on my work, he really helped me improve my English skills. I will also always miss his super loud voice.”

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In December 2019, Mr. Y. was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and went through six months of chemotherapy and radiation. Mr. Y. returned to the classroom as soon as he was able. The COVID-required distance learning format of the current school year allowed Mr. Y to continue teaching from the safety of his home up until his cancer progressed in December 2020. 

Students heard rumors of Mr. Y’s passing during the evening homecoming festivities on Friday February 19, 2021. The sad news about Mr. Y was confirmed in the CHS principal’s newsletter of March 8, 2021.

CHS Principal Schmeichel shared fond recollections of Mr. Y., “My favorite lesson he taught COSA kids involved them making a ‘mini’ set, including designing costumes for the set.  The final project was always a sense of pride for both the students and Mr. Y. I will dearly miss his booming voice and his passion for all things ‘dramatic.'”  

English department colleague and friend, Mr. Michael Dwinell shared, “I knew him for 20 years and he was a good, respected colleague.”

In lieu of flowers, the Yannaccone family is accepting donations to the Coronado School of the Arts in Mr. Y’s name.

Mr. Y’s family would like donations to go to the Coronado School of the Arts.

Mr. Y is the fourth CUSD employee to pass away since December 2020. Grieving students can find support resources at the CHS counseling office and through Coronado SAFE at

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Chloe Berk
Chloe has called Coronado home since she could walk or talk and considers herself a true Islander. She is currently a student at Coronado High School and a writer for the Islander Times. After studying and writing articles, she enjoys volleyball, the beach, and her newly-adopted dogs from PAWS.
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