FLORENCE, Ala. - Students at an Alabama elementary school are closing out the year without one of their classmates who died in a car wreck. Now the father of that girl is trying to help them heal with a surprise he knows his daughter would have loved.
On Monday morning, 111 second graders from G.W. Trenholm Elementary shed their shoes and replaced them with jump socks.
"Try to have as much fun as we can, but sometimes we can't have as much fun as we would have if she was here," 2nd grader Mia Awwad told WHNT.
The 112th student on the field trip to SkyZone would have been Jaleia Smith.
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"I'm not going to say it's tough. I'm going to say I just wish my daughter could have been here with them. This is one of her places that she loved to come to," said Jeremy Smith, Jaleia's father.
For her 8th birthday party, Jaleia and her friends jumped on the same mats at SkyZone. Three weeks later, on Sept. 27, tragedy struck the Smith family through a car wreck.
"Everything they helped me through with my daughter's situation; all the support they gave me. So, I just wanted to thank G.W. Trenholm for being there with me through my sorrows," said Smith. The school planted a tree in her honor and classmates left messages to Jaleia on chalkboards all year long.
Smith said he wanted to end the school year on a positive note. So, in Jaleia's honor, he paid for all 111 students to partake in what was his daughter's favorite activity. Then he enjoyed their smiles and remembered his beloved little girl.