Wayland-Cohocton senior study hall monitor and avid gardener, Dale Jester, or as students called her “Mrs. J” wasn’t just a person that students and staff could walk by and not know who she was. She had this little flame of light that she brought to each and every student for the thirty years she worked for the district. It didn’t matter if somebody was rude or nice, she gave everyone a chance.

“We all learned something from her even in the short time,” says class of 2020 senior Hailey G.V.

Jester brought kindness to the senior class, and at her calling hours, strangers hugged, cried and shared a moment together. Mrs. J brought the class of 2020 together with her positive spirit, like a sunflower blooming in hard conditions.

“It's sad to say that we've come together when someone’s passed but seeing the class really come together for the greater good has made it easier to grieve,” said Ben Reigelsperger, another member of the class of 2020.

Dale Jester was a beloved member of the Wayland Cohocton staff, and her smile touched everyone she met. She played an important role in the lives of past and current seniors, giving us all lessons in life. In her own words: “If it bothers you that much, throw it away.” Laughter and wise words followed her wherever she went.

“I both had her as a study hall monitor and now that I work here I got to know her from both perspectives,” said teacher and alumnus Darren Knapp.

Her work with students for over 30 years says a lot about her impact on the community, and her tragic passing touched generations of people in the district, prompting tributes on social media. She always put her students first in her work, and she was a role model to everyone she came in contact with.

People sometimes are unable to influence the lives of even a handful of people, but Dale Jester reached out and put kindness into the hearts of everyone she worked with. Not a single soul had a negative thing to say about her. For this writer and high school senior, Mrs. J helped me learn to step out of myself and listen to others, to notice if someone was acting different, and to uplift people I don’t even know. She taught me, and all of us, how to be truly selfless.

— Caitlyn Briggs is a senior at Wayland-Cohocton