EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Those whose lives were touched by the longtime director of the performing arts program at St. Mary Academy – Bay View gathered to say their final goodbyes Friday evening.

Christine Kavanagh, who taught music and theater at Bay View for nearly four decades, passed away last week. The cause of her death has not been made public.

Kavanagh, 69, was the wife of La Salle Academy Principal Donald Kavanagh, according to her obituary.

The beloved teacher had a huge impact on many of her students, including Camilla Macera.

Macera, a 2016 graduate, tells 12 News that throughout her time at Bay View, Kavanagh helped her grow as a person.

“I don’t even think I would be half of the person that I am right now if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Kavanagh,” Macera said. “She gave me the confidence I needed to walk into a room and that really helped me when I got to college and even after graduating. Walking into an interview, I’ve always been prepared because she taught me that you always have to be ready and put your best foot forward.”

Macera described Kavanagh’s passing as “an immense loss for the community.”

Nicole Reminder, who graduated in 1990, said her time at Bay View wouldn’t have been the same without Kavanagh.

“I think she brought me out of my shell,” Reminder said. “She’s an integral part of the person who I have become.”

“She had a fantastic sense of humor, she was wonderful with words,” she continued. “She had the ability to just [bring out] the best in you and put that best of you on stage.”

A Catholic Mass is scheduled to take place at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Mass will be live streamed on Bay View’s Facebook page for those who can’t attend.

Kavanagh’s family is requesting donations be made to the Christine D. Kavanagh Endowment Fund in her memory either online or by mailing a check to the following address:

St. Mary Academy – Bay View
Office of Advancement
3070 Pawtucket Avenue
Riverside, R.I. 02915