Accident victim called ‘role model for other students’

When Cydney Jackson walked into Northwood Elementary School as a 5-year-old, her teachers already could tell she was willing to help her classmates and was eager to learn.

With a new school year starting next week, it is difficult for Cydney’s former teachers to be excited about the new year in light of her death. Cydney died Sunday after an off-road vehicle rolled on top of her in southeastern Indiana.

Her kindergarten teacher Megan Greene described Cydney as a role model to her classmates who would always do the right thing and even cleaned up other students’ messes to help them, she said.

“She came in very quiet, but very eager to learn, very eager to start school,” Greene said. “I just remember always explaining to her mother how I could always count on her to be an example or a role model for other students that weren’t catching on to how to do things.”

Later in Jackson’s life, she still cared about others, language arts teacher Becky Skeel said. Skeel had Cydney in her class for third- and fourth-grade language arts, and could always count on Cydney to help her peers, including the special needs students who were in the classroom, Skeel said.

“She was one of those kids you wanted your own kid to be like,” Skeel said. “I got to see her grow into a young lady.”

Cydney had a peaceful quietness about her and liked working in smaller groups of students, which was when her helpfulness bloomed, Skeel said.

“She would give up her recess to go help read with the younger students or help another teacher,” Skeel said.

With students coming back to school next week, the accident reaffirmed to Greene and Skeel why they became teachers. Greene will start teaching third grade next week after 10 years as a kindergarten teacher. Greene has had anxiety about changing grades, but Cydney’s death put her career in perspective for her, she said.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about the kind of (posters) you’re going to put up, or how you arrange the desks, it’s about loving kids,” Greene said.