A relatively large number of people travelled several miles from the parish of St. Ann to Clarendon on Saturday, January 4, to help send off nine-year-old Tianna Walters in style.
Tianna, who struggled with sickle cell disease, died of dengue fever at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston on November 28. She was transferred to that medical facility after being admitted to St. Ann’s Bay Hospital.
Her Grade 4 teacher at Golden Grove All Age School in St. Ann, Georgia Onfry, said Tianna eventually was placed on life support.
She, in the eulogy, described her late student as friendly, caring, intelligent and kind.
“Whenever a friend or a classmate did not have snacks, lunch, pencils, crayons – you name it, you were always the first person to share with them,” the teacher said during the ceremony inside the Miracle Cathedral New Testament Church of God, located on the outskirts of Kellits town.
She noted that Tianna showed great interest in academics.
Reflecting on the child’s final week at school, the educator told the relatively large gathering:
I REMEMBER QUITE VIVIDLY THE FINAL WEEK YOU SPENT WITH US AT SCHOOL, YOU GAVE ME A STICK GLUE, A LIQUID GLUE AND A LARGE BOX OF CRAYONS CONTAINING APPROXIMATELY 70 PIECES, AND YOU SAID TO ME, ‘TEACHER, PLEASE KEEP THESE FOR ME AND I WANT YOU TO SHARE THEM WITH THE CLASS’.
THAT WAS ON THE MONDAY. ON THE WEDNESDAY OF THE SAME WEEK, THE CLASS WAS GIVEN AN ACTIVITY TO DRAW AND COLOUR A PICTURE AND, BEING THE KIND AND CARING PERSON THAT YOU WERE, YOU ASKED ME FOR THE SAME BOX OF CRAYON THAT YOU GAVE ME TO KEEP, AND YOU SHARED IT WITH EVERY SINGLE STUDENT IN THE CLASS.
LITTLE DID WE KNOW THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR LAST DAY WITH US AS A CLASS BECAUSE YOU DID NOT RETURN THE FOLLOWING DAY AND THE DAY AFTER.
Following the thanksgiving service, the pink casket bearing Tianna’s corpse was transported on a chariot for about a mile through Kellits town. A marching band provided music.
The procession later made its way to the deep rural family plot, located on a farm in the Jericho area of Kellits.
The child’s mother, Natoya Green, in an emotional scene, placed teddy bears and flowers into the casket before it was lowered into the grave.
A number of Tianna’s schoolmates, attired in their school uniforms, watched the proceedings keenly. Some, in hushed tones, debated over whether she will wake up soon.