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Students release balloons in memory of classmate killed by bus

Jada Craft, 6, died at Universal City apartment complex April 15

Saturday was a somber day in Cibolo as the family and friends of 6-year-old Jada Craft attended her funeral services.
Saturday was a somber day in Cibolo as the family and friends of 6-year-old Jada Craft attended her funeral services.

With a verbal signal from a school staffer, students and teachers at Coronado Village Elementary School let go of dozens of colorful, helium-filled balloons, and possibly some of their own pain.

The balloon release at the Universal City school Friday morning was in memory of Jada Craft, a six year old kindergarten student, who died beneath a school bus April 15.

Accident investigators said Jada was running to catch her bus at her apartment complex near Loop 1604 and Kitty Hawk Drive when it accidentally rolled over her.

Even though weeks have passed since then, the hurt is still fresh among her school family.

"I know it's kind of hard for us to take it and understand it all," said Yolanda Cadle, whose daughter also is in kindergarten.

"My heart just goes out to the parents and to the rest of the friends and family. I think it's such a tragic-- it's heartbreaking," she said.

Like Cadle, many other parents have been trying to help their youngsters understand a subject that's even tough for adults.

Jason Avellanet made sure he attended the brief ceremony so he could immediately answer any questions or concerns his 9- and 11-year-old daughters might have.

"As emotional as it was for me, it was for them. That's what I did. I was there for them," he said.

As the balloons floated skyward, students and teachers embraced one another, some with tears streaming down their faces.

After a moment of silence, they somberly listened to a rendition of "Over the Rainbow," by Hawaiian-born Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, played over a loudspeaker.

"(Jada) is in a better place, you know?" said Cadle. "It's hard and it's sad. It is."


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