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Student organizes fundraiser in memory of slain Central York teacher

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

Central York High School teacher Erin Walker was killed by her neighbor nearly one year ago, but her students and the larger community haven't forgotten the impact she left.

“Walker used to always say ‘be a good human,”’ said Nick Basile, a 21-year-old former student who's organized a nonprofit — Charlea's Angel — to raise scholarship money in Walker's memory. The organization is named for Walker's daughter, Charlea.

Investigators said Walker, 36, was shot dead by her neighbor in what they described as a domestic dispute. That neighbor was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Central York High School social studies teacher Erin Walker, seen in a 2016 file photo.

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Basile, the Central York School Board and various other former students and staff members are organizing a run on Mother's Day weekend — which falls between Charlea and Walker's birthdays — in Walker's memory. Walker was herself an avid marathoner.

"She deserves it all," Basile said, of his slain teacher. "She'd be doing the same thing for anybody else."

Basile’s mom, Sue, who also sits on the nonprofit board, said this is near and dear to her son’s heart. 

“We as a family loved (Walker) and what she did for the kids,” she said, explaining this was a natural step. 

Community members mourn the loss of social studies teacher Erin Walker, 36, with a memorial of flowers and heart-felt notes at Central York High School in Springgettsbury Township, Monday, May 23, 2022. According to police, Walker was fatally shot in an apparent murder-suicide following a dispute Saturday. The neighbor, Daniel Berry, 59, then turned the gun on himself. Dawn J. Sagert photo

She added she is proud of her son for creating a nonprofit.

The run's proceeds will go to the nonprofit's $1,000-per-student scholarships, which began last year. At least two more Central students will receive scholarships on May 12.

Basile said the scholarship applications are in the guidance counselor’s office and are due May 1. The student must fill out information about themselves and get a teacher's recommendation. 

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“Erin definitely looked out for the kids who were in need or who were struggling,” Sue Basile said, explaining the loss of Walker was a huge hit to the community.

The 5K color run is May 13 at Central York High School. Registration is open now for $25 at and closes April 25. A link can also be found on the nonprofit's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/charleasangel. In-person registration will be available the day of the race for $35. 

A celebration of teacher Erin Walker's life at Central York High School in York on June 30, 2022.

Participants will get a T-shirt, number and chalk for the initial throw at the start of the race. Nick Basile, who recommended people register early to get a shirt, said the shirts will have a design commemorating Walker. 

Nick Basile said he mapped out the path and walked it himself. He said it shouldn't be too strenuous. It will be a flat path on the blacktop and sidewalk that will loop three times around the school with a color station on one side of the school. The colors are yellow, orange and blue. Because of the path, participants will be able to decide what colors they get and when. 

 A part of the path is also the same path Walker used for the homecoming parades she planned during her time at Central. 

Check-in starts at 9 a.m. Basile said there will be food trucks, such as Walker’s favorite, LettUsKnow. This came from a memory of Walker organizing a food truck for students on a half day outside the school every year. 

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Along with the run and food trucks, Nick Basile said there will be a bounce house, an obstacle course and a face-painting station. 

This isn’t the only way Central York has been remembering Walker. A GoFundMe, The Erin Walker Memorial Fund, was set up shortly after her death by fellow teacher Ben Hodge. The money was going to go to help Walker’s family, provide a trust for Charlea, establish a scholarship in Walker’s name and create a memorial for her. 

In June, Hodge posted on the site the donations would go to a trust for Charlea. Donations continued to come in over the year, hitting $71,066 from over 1,000 donors. 

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Nick Basile added the school’s football team also commemorated her with stickers on their helmets. The lacrosse team hit the field in March with Walker’s initials and birthdate painted on their faces. 

— Reach Meredith Willse at mwillse@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.