For every student of hers -- current and former -- veteran Paramus middle-school teacher Jennifer Williamson made the most turbulent years of their young lives easier to bear.
Williamson, who taught for nearly 20 years in the district, was killed along with fifth-grader Miranda Faith Vargas when their school bus was struck by a dump truck on Route 80 during a field trip Thursday.
Sarah Schweizer was in Williamson's first-ever class nearly two decades ago.
"My mom texted me the news [story in Daily Voice] describing her as an angel," Schweizer said. "All the articles about her describe her the same way! An angel, and amazing. . 😭😭😭💔💔💔💔💔 "
Nineteen years in the classroom only made Williamson more passionate about her role in her students' lives.
"[She was] one of the teachers that made my middle school years memorable," one said. "An easy, yet tough, yet fair teacher. Kind to everyone, sweet to everyone. She truly loved what she did."
"To this day, I always say that she was my favorite teacher," said Marisa Paladino. "Ms. Williamson, along with a couple of other awesome teachers at East Brook, volunteered their time to home school me when I was going through treatment for leukemia. She was so kind, and truly cared about her students."
"A lot of people don't know teaching was not her major," parent Michael J. Somma said. "She loved children so much she switched careers. She was an amazing woman and we loved her. There was always a hug....and my older son would make sure to go in and see her."
“One small, but very meaningful gesture was when my son, then in 5th grade, had very chapped lips,” one parent wrote. “Ms. W took out her own chapstick, but off the end and gave it to [him].
“As a tribute to her, I am going to take some time today to email some of my children’s teachers and let them know how much I appreciate them and how they provided a positive influence on my kids.”
ALSO SEE: She had a smile that touched countless hearts, a gentle soul and an intense love for her family. That's how many are expected to remember Miranda Faith Vargas at a funeral this Monday.
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