WATCH: Teacher's Last Wish For Backpacks At Funeral Instead Of Flowers

Despite battling cancer, Tammy Waddell dedicated 25 years to helping students. At her Georgia funeral, her wish for backpack donations for needy kids was honored with over 100 packs filled with supplies.

Ishika Thanvi
New Update
bagpack for needy

Image: Dr. Brad Johnson

Tammy Waddell dedicated 25 years of her life to supporting students in need, embodying the spirit of kindness and generosity. Even as she battled colon cancer, her commitment to helping others never wavered. In an overwhelming display of her enduring legacy, Waddell's final wish was granted at her funeral in Georgia, where over 100 backpacks filled with school supplies were donated for underprivileged students.


Dr. Brad Johnson,Β Waddell's cousin, captured the heartfelt moment at her funeral, sharing an image of the pews adorned with backpacks, a testament to her unwavering dedication. Described as "a teacher to the end," Waddell's influence extended beyond the classroom, touching the lives of countless individuals.

Β A Tribute of Gratitude

At the funeral, a group of approximately 100 teachers, who had the privilege of working alongside Waddell, served as honorary pallbearers, paying tribute to her profound impact. Their presence symbolized the collective admiration and respect she garnered throughout her career.

The backpack donations, a representation of Waddell's compassionate spirit, were distributed to children in need through theΒ school district's Project Connect initiative. This annual event facilitates direct assistance to students by delivering essential supplies to their homes, ensuring their educational needs are met.

A Lasting Influence

Waddell's legacy transcends her passing, as she continues to inspire others through her selfless acts of kindness. Her cousin, Dr. Johnson, reflects on her profound influence, stating, "What made her special was that she truly loved and cared for her students." Her dedication to nurturing both academic and emotional growth resonates deeply with those she encountered.


A Life of Service

Waddell's journey in education began in 1987, evolving from a paraprofessional to an esteemed teacher, earning recognition as the Forsyth County Schools elementary teacher of the year in 2003. Jennifer Caracciolo, spokesperson for Forsyth County Schools, describes Waddell as a "servant leader that loved children," emphasising her enduring legacy of compassion.

A Touching Tribute

Survived by her husband, children, and grandchildren, Waddell's family continues to carry forward her legacy of service. Her son and daughters-in-law, all educators themselves, embody her values of empathy and dedication to making a difference in the lives of others.


The outpouring of support following Waddell's passing highlights the profound impact of her story. Dr. Johnson notes, "Her final lesson was to be of service to others." Through her selfless act of requesting backpack donations instead of flowers, Waddell leaves behind a powerful message of compassion and generosity, reminding us all of the importance of lending a helping hand to those in need.

acts of kindness teachers underprivileged students