Friends, family remember Jennifer Paulson

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by KYLE MOORE / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 26, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 26 at 11:28 PM

TACOMA - Outside Birney Elementary School in Tacoma, a flower memorial for slain teacher Jennifer Paulson continues to grow. Friends, students and parents bring cards, candles and even an angel figurine to remember the special education teacher who one parent called a miracle worker.

Eight-year-old Taylor Meehen begged her parents to take her to the store so she could buy a single flower for the teacher she says brought a smile to her face, "because I really care about her.'

Meehen's mother Jennifer Gaskill goes a step further and describes Paulson as "good with the kids" and someone who will be "missed."

Also at the memorial is Theresa Ferguson, a mother to a 5-year-old special-needs boy who attends Birney Elementary. Fighting back tears, Ferguson says Paulson is doing "miraculous" work and "to lose ( a special education teacher) that has enough patience to deal with children every day is not right. It is not fair."

Former students remember the 30-year-old teacher as somebody you could always go to for advice. Students say she gave out candy to those who visited her classroom and always had a smile for every student. Now 6th grader Kanycka Khmao will remember Paulson for her the joy she shared.

"Her smile was beautiful, really beautiful. She was amazing," she said.

Michelle Allen went to school with Paulson at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle. Paulson graduated in 2003 with a degree  special education. Allen also worked in the cafeteria with Paulson and the man who would eventually gun her down. According to Allen she never realized the gunman Ted Waits would years later, snap.

"I never knew there was anything like that to him," said Allen.

Paulson's father and mother gathered at the shooting scene. Ken Paulson says his devoted daughter became a special education teacher because of the great amount of "love" in her heart. He says his daughter was a woman of faith who believed in giving back to others.

"She was a kind,merciful,loving person," he said.

The family hugged and shared tears.

"We love her she will be missed tremendously by us and this community," said stepmother Cindy Paulson.

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