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This Viral Photo Of Donated School Supplies At A Teacher's Funeral Is Making Me Ugly-Cry

"A teacher to the end."

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Tammy Waddell, who had worked for 30 years as a paraprofessional and teacher in Forsyth, Georgia, passed away on June 9 after having cancer.

Her obituary said she "had a passion for literacy and believed that every child deserved an opportunity to learn."
Brad Johnson

Her obituary said she "had a passion for literacy and believed that every child deserved an opportunity to learn."

And so, having dedicated her life to education, she made a final request that people bring backpacks filled with school supplies instead of flowers to her funeral.

My cousin’s final request at her funeral was Backpacks full of supplies for needy students instead of flowers. A teacher to the end. @TeachersNet @edutopia @EdWeekTeacher https://t.co/eGig25tYwH

The photo, shared to Reddit after first being posted on Twitter, has been upvoted almost 100K times.

Tammy's cousin, Dr. Brad Johnson, told BuzzFeed, "She always felt a bond to students in need, whether they need[ed] supplies or a hug. [And] she thought they needed backpacks more than she needed flowers."

"A couple of weeks ago, when she knew she wasn't going to make it, this was her final request," he said.
Brad Johnson

"A couple of weeks ago, when she knew she wasn't going to make it, this was her final request," he said.

Around 100 teachers who had worked with Tammy were honorary pallbearers, and after the funeral, they carried out the backpacks and formed a line to the hearse.

Honorary pallbearers... Teachers who had taught with her through the years...

"She was the best teacher ever," one of her former students wrote in an online guestbook. "I'm going to miss you so much!"

"She inspired in her teaching, and her final lesson has literally inspired the world," Johnson said.

Brad Johnson
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