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      Freeman Elementary sends memories skyward to three fallen students

      Freeman Elementary students, faculty and family members release balloons to remembers students who died over the Summer.

      It has been an especially trying Summer for Flint's Freeman Elementary School as three students have lost their lives since July.

      Students and grieving families gathered Thursday during a special memorial service to send their thoughts skyward.

      They released more than 200 balloons to help mourning families and students grieve.

      "You don't want to see the kids hurting and they're hurting they're in pain," said Freeman Elementary teacher, Jacquie Richardson.

      12-year-old Cherish Hill-Renfro passed away July 20 along with her mother after a double-homicide in Flint.

      9-year-old Trashawn Macklin died in a triple homicide July 15.

      11-year-old Quantavian Jones was killed August 21 when he was crossing Dort Highway and was hit by a car.

      The young victims' memories were memorialized at Freeman Elementary with balloons and words of remembrance.

      Students wrote notes, tied them to balloons and released the balloons during a special ceremony.

      Cherish's brother, Kent Jones said the service showed his family the community cares, "it's like saying goodbye again."

      Pamela Lockhart was Cherish's grandmother and tied a special message to her balloon.

      "I told the angel to keep flying high," she said.

      The school offered open arms to the families of the young victims telling them that they are only a phone call away.

      "There's three families that have lost children to things that are not explainable to us and I'm very grateful," said Quantavian's mother, Karena Mitchell.

      School leaders also urge parents not to forget about the youngest mourners, the students, while teaching them lessons beyond their years.

      "A lot of times you just listen and you are as honest as you can and we shed a tear with them," said Richardson.

      Quantavian would have been in sixth grade this year.

      Trashawn would have been in third grade.

      Cherish was about to enter seventh grade.