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.
Funeral Mass for Williamson is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, May 24 at Our Lady of the Visitation R.C. Church in Paramus with interment at George Washington Memorial Park.
Visitation will be Tuesday and Wednesday, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Vander Plaat Memorial Home.
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."
Williamson was "super nice," another wrote. "She always would explain everything thoroughly and made it all fun."
"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."
“One small, but very meaningful gesture was when my son, then in 5th grade, had very chapped lips,” parent Elissa Cahn 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.”
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