Whitehall-Yearling High School students and staff members are remembering a teacher who always made time for her students.

Sandra Santa-Emma Kemerer, a family-consumer-science teacher at the high school, died Feb. 9 at age 58.

"She always had the best advice for me when I needed to talk out a problem, even when I wasn't in her class anymore," senior Aryss Rodriguez said.

Kemerer began teaching at Whitehall-Yearling High School in 2004 after earning a master's degree in 2002 from Ohio State University, said Ty Debevoise, director of communications and marketing for Whitehall schools.

Denise Bunsey, an English teacher at Whitehall-Yearling, called Kemerer "a light for the staff" who was there to give support and advice to teachers in equal measure.

"She was always willing to lend a hand to another teacher and was always welcoming to any student who crossed her path," Bunsey said.

Kemerer was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago and shared with students and staff last fall that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment, Bunsey said.

"Sandy had a positive attitude, often stayed late working on lesson plans and gave her best for every student," she said.

Rodriguez was a freshman when she enrolled in Foods for Life, one of several courses in the family-consumer-science curriculum taught by Kemerer.

"I remember at a parent-teacher conference, she stayed late with me to talk to me, and (as a senior) I still went back to see her to talk about things going on in my life," Rodriguez said.

Former students who graduated more than a decade ago remembered Kemerer on the website for Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Service.

Kanisha Bailey, a 2009 Whitehall-Yearling graduate, wrote that Kemerer was her favorite teacher.

"You were the one I went to when I was overwhelmed with emotion no matter what kind. You were the one I chose to shake my hand after receiving my diploma at graduation. I still have the card you gave me that day. You are truly loved and will truly be missed," she wrote.

Classes at Whitehall-Yearling were dismissed early Feb. 14 to allow staff members and students to attend funeral services for Kemerer.

She is survived by her husband, Charles, and daughters, Erin and Sara Kemerer.

Donations to the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center may be made in her name.

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