Pleasanton Weekly

News - April 1, 2011

Computer lab dedication becomes memorial

Foothill High School gets 35 new iMacs

by Glenn Wohltmann

The opening of Foothill High School's computer center recently turned out to be less of a dedication and more of a remembrance of a much-loved staff member.

A new computer lab filled with 35 Apple iMac computers was dedicated to Jill Brierley, who passed away in September after a four-year battle with cancer. Brierley was remembered as a positive and upbeat person who helped both staff and students, someone who never complained despite the pain she was in.

History teacher Zach Lipman, who was in a teachers' prayer group with Brierley, said he and the others in the group drew inspiration from her.

"I don't remember a single time that Jill let life get ahold of her or pull her down," Lipman said, adding, to the family, "Thank you for sharing Jill with us."

One of her sisters, Lorette Harnsberger, said Brierley's faith never waivered, despite her illness.

"She knew, had absolute conviction where she was going," she said. "Her faith gave her the strength to go on."

Another sister, Nicky Suard, noted that Brierley went to school to become an IT manager after leaving the workforce to raise her family, then running a day care for years. Brierley would take a class, then use her good grades as motivation to continue. Because of that, she was able to encourage students to persevere in their own academic careers.

Suard pointed out that she wrote her remarks for the dedication on an iPhone, and Gillian Holmes of the Activities and Academics Booster Club (AABC) read hers from an Apple PowerBook, something her Jill's husband Casey said Jill would have liked.

The AABC raised more than $50,000 to buy the new iMacs to replace old and broken equipment.

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