Students use art to remember beloved friend - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students use art to remember beloved friend

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THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

Counselors are helping classmates and teachers cope with the death of a Thomas County fourth grader.

Jay Copeland died in a fire on Sunday and students are using art to cope with the loss of their friend.

Update: Glenn Allen with the State Fire Marshal's Office says the fire started in the attic. An absolute cause cannot be determined, but was not intentional, therefore, accidental.

Art is a powerful tool of expression, and each stroke of a pencil, every use of a crayon on Monday, held special meaning for students at Cross Creek Elementary School, because they were drawing in remembrance of their friend and classmate.

"He strived to make each day better than the last, he made teachers want to come to work," said principal Clay Stanland, and that's why teachers and students were stunned when they learned he died in a house fire in Meigs. Jay's teachers are taking the loss especially hard.

"They were reluctant to be interviewed because they didn't think they could make it through," said Stanland.

Administrators are doing their best to comfort those affected by the loss,"we called all of the parents of the students in Jay's class, to let them know about the tragedy, so that they could prepare their children," said Assistant Superintendent Lisa Williams.

Counselors are available on campus to help anyone in need.

Jay is remembered at his school as a stand out student art teacher plans to give his last portrait to his family as a keepsake.

Many called the nine year old a leader, "some of the students in class were talking about how he would have been a great leader and that he kind of led their class," said Stanland.

Others remembered him as a "Jack of all trades", "he was smart, he was caring, kind, he loved to play sports, most students drew him playing kick ball or spider ball," said Williams.

While the news of the loss remains fresh, school leaders believe Jay's contagious passion for life will live on through the art work of students.

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