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Beloved Roswell teacher remembered by colleagues

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ROSWELL, Ga. -

Co-workers of a beloved Roswell teacher who lost a battle with cancer say they are mourning her loss but celebrating her life.

Michelle Wexler died last week after fighting a rare form of cancer. Wexler taught second grade at Mimosa Elementary School for the past six years. She was named "Teacher of the Year" last spring.

Unbeknownst to her students, for the past six months, Wexler battled a rare form of uterine cancer. She finally lost the fight on Friday.

"What I'll miss most about Michelle is just seeing her in the morning -- she was always such a bright star," said Principal Lynn Johnson, who hired Wexler. "She's a very rare find, so I know that our school will be at a loss."

Wexler's fellow teachers were among her closest friends. Every day, they saw why she loved her job: the students.

"I would see the kids just attentively listening to her, taking in every word that she was saying to them," fellow teacher Stephanie Vazquez said.

Another teacher, Tiffany Waller, added, "She made a difference in the students' lives, but it really made a difference in her life too."

Even as she suffered from the disease that took her life, Wexler kept it quiet to keep her students from suffering too.

"She did not want the students to know because she didn't want them to be upset and she wanted them to remember her how she left at the end of the year," said Wexler.

While she's now gone, her friends say she's still a part of these halls.

"Knowing that she will be there to help you in spirit is just a great comfort," said Vazquez.

Grief counselors were at the school on Monday to offer help to kids who are dealing with this loss.

Family, friends and colleagues filled the Unity North Atlanta Church Monday night for a celebration of life.

"I'm so blessed to see how many lives she touched," said Wanda Wexler, Michelle's mother.

In addition to her teaching duties, Michelle Wexler was a lifelong learner. She was about to earn her specialist degree in education. Kennesaw State University officials honored Michelle by giving the diploma to her mother.

A memorial fund has also been set up Michelle's memory. The goal is to provide research into the cancer that took her life. For more information, visit: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/54w2/michelle-s-just-keep-swimming-fund

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