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Indianola mourns loss of Jessica Swartwout

"To know her was to love her and I know that's kind of cliche, but it was really the truth with her," said Shirley (KTUL).

"Wise beyond her years" and "beloved by all," two phrases commonly used to describe Jessica Swartwout.

"I first met Jess when she was in first grade," said teacher Dena Shirley. She watched Jessica grow up in the Indianola school system.

"She was definitely a bright light. In teaching you see so many kids, but she was going some place and she knew right how to get there," she said.

To handle the hundreds of mourners, the service was held in the newly built gymnasium.

"First event we had was Jessica's graduation where she was valedictorian," said Indianola Superintendent Adam Newman, also taken by the tremendous impact Jessica had on the lives of others.

"When you have only about 240 students in your school, they get connected quite easily, and not just the students in her class that graduated last year, but the students who are still here currently," he said.

"To know her was to love her and I know that's kind of cliche, but it was really the truth with her," said Shirley.

Saying goodbye to Jessica, much too soon than anyone could have anticipated.

"It's one of those things that it's going to hurt for a while and it's hard to, you know, explain to these kids that this is something you're going to have to have to grow with and she's one of a kind," said Shirley.

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