Enterprise students remember you classmate

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 9, 2003

“Go balloons. Get the message to heaven,” shouted one littlevoice as dozens of children looked skyward Wednesday at Enterpriseschool.

As the balloons quickly diminished to dots above their heads,the students found some comfort as they try to deal with the lossof their friend and fellow classmate, Dylan Wayne Williams, whodied in a hunting accident on Dec. 22. Dylan was the son of Ericand Dara Williams

The idea for the balloon release came earlier this week whenstudents returned to classes after the holidays. During a time ofsharing with a counselor, one youngster mentioned how he planned towrite a letter to Dylan and send it to him with a balloon Sunday.Two churches, Pleasant Hill Baptist and Ruth Baptist, are planninga balloon release in Pleasant Hill Cemetery after servicesSunday.

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“The students just wrote down things they remembered aboutDylan, like how nice he was or that they enjoyed playing with himon the playground,” said second grade teacher Leah Brister, whoseclass joined with the classes of Ann Sasser and Amy Lofton.

They waved goodbye and shouted phrases like “We love you,Dylan,” “We’re always thinking about you,” and “We miss you” asthey watched the balloons soar through the sky.

Messages inside the balloons contained letters, poems, drawingsand thoughts from the approximately 60 students who attended schoolwith Dylan from kindergarten through the middle of their secondgrade year.

A few students shed tears and hugged their teachers after theballoon release and a prayer led by principal Bruce Falvey, whojoined the students and teachers in recalling Dylan’s outgoingpersonality and the many ways he touched the lives of others.

“Even when we say the Pledge of Allegiance, it’s not the same,”said Lofton, Dylan’s homeroom teacher. He was a leader inside andoutside the class, she said.

The balloon release gave students the opportunity to expresstheir feelings and spend some time with Dylan’s parents. His aunt,Jennifer Williams, also attended the special ceremony.

“It really touched my heart that so many people loved him,” saidDara Williams, wiping a tear from her eye.

The students found another creative way to express their lovefor Dylan: using their shoes to etch his name in the gravel besidethe playground where they had spent so many afternoonstogether.

Dara Williams complimented the unique way the children chose toremember her son.

“I think this was a great idea for the children to do this forDylan. This was a great way for them to have closure and know thatDylan is in heaven,” she said.

The ceremony and printed thoughts from the children will alsoaid in the healing process for family members as well.

“The letters show how special he is to us. He’s one of a kind,”said Eric Williams.