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Students remember classmates

Students remember classmates

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For Keanu Shortte, Jamalie “Blacka” Edwards was the one person he considered his genuine friend.

Sadly, Edwards, 14, a fourth form student of the North Union Secondary School (NUSS), was one of five students who were killed in an accident when the bus in which they were travelling ran off the road at Rock Gutter{{more}} and plunged into sea, on January 12.

“We spoke last Thursday about life and so. We spoke about what we were going to do when we grew up and them kinds of things. I told him I wanted to be a police officer, but I forgot what he said he wanted to be. But it was something good,” Keanu told SEARCHLIGHT, as he sat on a wall outside the school, the day following the tragedy.

According to Keanu, that was last time he heard or saw his friend alive.

“He didn’t come to school on the Friday and the thing happened on Monday… I feel really bad about all of them, especially with Jamalie. Me ain’t going have anybody so to talk to and so,” a dejected Keanu said, describing Jamalie as his close, close friend.

Following the incident, the NUSS was suspended for two consecutive days, as teachers and students mourned the death of four of their own.

Jamalie’s brother, Jamal, 12, another student of the school, was also killed in that accident and so was Annique Alexander, a 12-year-old first former. The search continues for third form student Chanstacia Stay, who is presumed dead.

Shortly after school was suspended on Tuesday, teacher Ruthlyn Alves said a “tense” and “sombre” mood had engulfed the school over the past 24 hours.

“This has shaken up the school and these children were very good children. They were well behaved and it is a great loss to our school’s population,” she stated.

She noted that the school received quick responses from the Ministry of Education and other officials in assisting the school in its time of mourning.

Alves is of the belief that students and teachers won’t recover from such a tragedy anytime soon.

“I think it will take us a very long time to recover. Being that they were all young people, it’s just shocking to know that so many lives were lost… We just have to try to cope with the situation and accept that God is in it all,” she added.

As we made our way outside of the school’s compound, some of the classmates and friends of the deceased sat on a wall, reminiscing about the good times they once shared.

One student said he got the news about the tragedy when he was at school.

“When I heard, I saw the block that all of them normally sit was empty. All of them used to sit there. When I didn’t see them, I really began thinking that something was really wrong. When I got the confirmation, I just felt really sad,” he said.

Andrew Butler, another fourth former, said he was at home when he received the news.

“I feel sad when I heard my friend Shemroy got in accident. I was home ironing my clothes and somebody shout me and tell me ah van turn over and I told my mother I hope nobody for me didn’t die. When I reach to school now, I heard the news about him and the others and I’m like my belly cut. I couldn’t even eat anything for the day,” Butler stated.

Other students from the school were also injured in the accident and were hopitalized.(KW)

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