A Teachers Last Wish Has Inspired Others to Help Students in Need

posted: 07/11/18
by: Amanda Mushro

When a loved one passes away, friends and family often send flowers and cards to express their sympathy. However, beloved educator Tammy Waddel knew that she could continue to make a difference in the lives of students even after her passing.

Waddel, who taught in Forsyth County Schools in Georgia for 30 years, was a colon cancer survivor but learned last summer that the disease had returned. Two weeks before passing away, she made her intentions known that at her funeral, she wanted friends and family to bring backpacks full of school supplies for children in need.

The day of her funeral, backpacks lined the aisles honoring the teacher and her dedication to helping students. Her cousin and fellow educator Brad Johnson tweeted out an image of the donated backpacks lining the aisles of the church. "My cousin's final request at her funeral was Backpacks full of supplies for needy students instead of flowers," he captioned the photo. "A teacher to the end."

Johnson's tweet received thousands of retweets and replies from people who were inspired by Waddell's last wishes and those who wanted to make school supply donations as well.

"What made her special was that she truly loved and care for her students. As many said, she was ready to give a hug to a student in need, just like she was to give supplies to a student in need," Johnson said during her eulogy. "She has inspired many people, including myself."

Per Waddel's request, all of the backpacks and supplies will be given to children through the organization Project Connect, a local organization that helps students who need school supplies. During their annual back to school event, teachers will deliver the backpacks and supplies to the homes of their students.

While Waddel will not be joining her fellow teachers when the next school year starts, her love and dedication to the students will help ensure many children can start their school year off with the supplies needed.