Wake for 10-year-old Paramus girl killed in New Jersey school bus crash

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Monday, May 21, 2018
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Josh Einiger has more from Paramus.

PARAMUS, New Jersey (WABC) -- Family, friends, and classmates gathered Sunday to say goodbye to a 5th grader killed in a bus crash in New Jersey.

A wake is being held in Clifton for 10-year-old Miranda Vargas.

It comes as students at East Brook Middle School in Paramus add to the growing memorial to Vargas and teacher Jennifer Williamson Kennedy.

Both were killed Thursday on the way to a field trip when their school bus collided with a dump truck in Mount Olive.

Sunday night, the community will join together for an all-faith service for both victims at Our Lady of the Visitation Church in Paramus.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Vargas, who leaves behind her parents and twin sister. The child's family called her "a beautiful, gentle soul with a passionate love for her family."

Her funeral is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday in Marrocco Memorial Chapel in Clifton.

The parent-teacher association of East Brook called the teacher and student killed "beautiful" and "beloved".

"It is so difficult to put into words the sorrow that is felt over the tragic loss of our beautiful student Miranda Vargas and our beloved teacher Mrs. Williamson," the East Brook Middle School PTA said on its Facebook page. "As we mourn the tragic loss of these beautiful angels, we continuously pray for the students and teachers who remain in the hospital and those who are dealing with their injuries and scars both physically and emotionally."

A funeral Mass for Williamson, whose obituary notes that she "taught in the same grade and same classroom in East Brook Middle School for 20 years," is scheduled at 10 a.m. Thursday in Paramus.

Parent Mark Deegan called Williamson "a great teacher and a great human being," saying in a message that his son Shane was in her class last year and his daughter Nicole had "great memories" from her class seven years ago. She called Williamson "a very optimistic, sweet and loving person" who would bring things she bought in yard sales for students and was "always friendly and supportive."

Gov. Phil Murphy said flags at state buildings would be flown at half-staff on Monday in honor of the victims.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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