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Hundreds pay respects at funeral for Chittenango teacher

Schools in Chittenango were closed on Monday as hundreds turned out to attend the funeral of a beloved teacher.
Oneida (WSYR-TV) - Schools in Chittenango were closed on Monday as hundreds turned out to attend the funeral of a beloved teacher.

Colleen Hyland died last week in a car accident on her way to work as a 7th grade social studies teacher at Chittenango Middle School. Since her passing, there has been an outpouring of support.

Many middle school students were among the hundreds in attendance at Hyland's funeral

“She had a unique teaching style and a passion for teaching that a lot of teachers I know don’t,” said Chittenango student Tyler Sternberg.

The school district had to cancel classes on Monday as students and teachers came to pay their respects.

“There's just been an overwhelming amount of support for her. We wouldn't have had enough substitutes to put in the classroom,” Chittenango Superintendent Mike Schiedo said.

Respected throughout the community, Hyland’s biggest contribution to society will be remembered as an educator and the relationships she built with her students.

“She came across as this loving person, as a friend. She didn't want to be your teacher, she wanted to be your friend and she knew if she was your friend, you'd learn so much better,” said Cooper Young, a student of Hyland.

“The key thing is her heart and her caring, the connection she makes with her students. They will remember that the rest of their lives,” said Tom Piatti, principal of Chittenango Middle School. “You could feel the love in there.”

Love for a woman who not only taught her students social studies, but also set the standard for a human being.

“She's irreplaceable, that type of person - the heart, the conviction, the character, she’s an example to all of us of what we should aspire to be,” Piatti said.

At the services, donations were accepted to benefit the Colleen Hyland Memorial Scholarship.

If you would like to contribute, checks can be made out to the Colleen Hyland Scholarship through the Oneida Savings Banks.

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