Five days after the tragic accident that took a teacher's life, a community gathers to bid a final farewell to Colleen Hyland. Tamara Lindstrom spoke with students and educators from the Chittenango School District who say they won't let Hyland's legacy fade.
ONEIDA, N.Y. -- The sanctuary of St. Patrick's Church in Oneida overflowed with mourners Monday, a testament to the woman being laid to rest.
"You could really feel the love and the community. The community just came together; her family, her church, her school, her friends. It was a beautiful service," said Chittenango Middle School Principal Tom Piatti.
A beloved seventh grade teacher at Chittenango Middle School, Colleen Hyland, 48, died last week after her SUV crashed into the Erie Canal. It is a loss felt throughout the community.
"She was just a great person and always helped us, always cared for the individual. She was basically a friend to everyone," said Kaliegh Barrett.
Maggie Lowe said, "I remember her dressing up in classrooms and making everything better. She would always help me with my schoolwork and her great attitude."
Although Hyland's students, colleagues, friends and family have said their last goodbyes, her legacy lives on.
Piatti said, "I think that in this time of great tragedy and challenge, that we just take who Colleen was as a person and make that a part of our lives, ourselves and that will make us a better people and a stronger school."
Chittenango Schools were closed Monday to allow students and staff to attend services for Hyland. Counselors have been brought in to help students with the grieving process.