Jemison Middle School mourns sixth grader’s death

Up and away: Jemison Middle School students wrote messages to their late classmate Christopher Rico and tied them to balloons that were released Friday. Up and away: Jemison Middle School students wrote messages to their late classmate Christopher Rico and tied them to balloons that were released Friday.

Jemison Middle School students said their final goodbyes to a classmate on Friday, but the memories and emotions tied to the passing of Christopher Rico will surely not float away as easily as the balloons that carried their messages.

Rico, a 12-year-old sixth grader, passed away on April 15 after a brain aneurysm ruptured.

Teachers encouraged students this week to write messages to Rico. The messages were tied to balloons, which were released Friday afternoon.

RICORICO

Some of the messages read: “I love and miss you Chris,” “We will always love you,” and “You will be in our hearts forever.”

JMS Principal Mark Knight said the short program was necessary for teachers and students who wanted to say goodbye.

“It’s such a tragic loss for us,” Knight said. “He was a great kid. We’re going to miss him.

“I wish we could do more for the family. I know they’re grieving.”

Before the balloons were released, several of Rico’s friends sang “Stand by Me,” and friend Ben Vasquez read a dedication that will be published in the school yearbook.

Part of the dedication was written by his teacher, Jodie Lawley: “Christopher will always be remembered for his contagious smile and unforgettable personality. He made an impression in this sixth grade class that will never be forgotten.”

JMS students raised $740 for a donation to the Rico family. The family was also given a card from the faculty and a memory book that was filled with Rico’s school records and notes to the family.

Pinedale Gardens and JMS donated the balloons for the release.

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