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West Palm Beach community remembers Estella's Brilliant Bus creator

Estella Pyform connected more than 100,000 underserved children to computers and technology free of charge
Estella Mims Py
Posted at 5:59 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 19:02:41-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach woman who used her own money to make technology accessible in underprivileged neighborhoods is being remembered by community members.

Estella's Brilliant Bus has been recognized at the local, state and national level, garnering attention from President Barack Obama, CNN Heroes, and Oprah.

“She was my teacher 53 years ago in fifth grade,” said Pyfrom’s former student and educator Valerie Smith.

Imagine what you can do, that was one of the many encouraging words Estella Mims Pyfrom told her students throughout the decades.

Smith was her student at Glade View Elementary in Belle Glade.

“For you to look back and remember somebody and to know that you can call them at any given time, that means a lot,” said Smith.

Today, she is heavy-hearted to know the woman who was her inspiration to become an educator and her friend for many years has passed away.

“She was a courageous woman,” Smith said. “The battle she was fighting, she just decided she didn’t want to fight any longer and she decided that it was time to you know.”

Pyfrom passed away Wednesday night.

She used her retirement money to launch Estella’s Brilliant Bus. It connected more than 100,000 underserved children to computers and technology free of charge throughout Palm Beach County.

“Estella Pyfrom was a hero in the education community. She was a veteran educator from a family of educators with a passion for creating successful experiences for students. She made a huge difference in the lives of underprivileged students,” said Marcia Andrews, Palm Beach County School Board Member for District 6, in a statement.

"She was so open, like the knowledge and the joy and just her educational wealth, she was so willing just to pass it down,” said Noble Lockhart-Mays.

Lockhart-Mays is the director at the Faith’s Place in West Palm Beach. She said Pyfrom was a mentor to her and watched her uplift a community to reach greatness.

“It’s just something that you do. That’s what Mrs. Estella did for me,” said Lockhart-Mays. “I’m sure the same thing resounds in the hearts and minds of those that she impacted.”

“Sometimes we forget when we get to the top, how we got there,” said Smith. “If we would take anything from her, to just understand that you reach back to help those who are less fortunate.”