This is a great honor and privilege to speak today on our sweetest, Jonalin Coley! She is a rare jewel that shines in the lives of all that know her! She is contagious…I remember so long ago when I would see her in the halls of Northside Elementary where her daddy worked- long before I even knew I wanted to be a Para pro- I remember not being able to take my eyes off her-I didn’t want to seem strange gawking at this wonder I later learned was Jonalin Coley but she was like a magnet and I felt drawn to her.
I now know that it wasn't just me- everyone she came across that spent 2 seconds with her fell and fell hard!
She spent several years in Mrs. Joyce’s Pre K class and she became part of her. All of our kids do become “ours” but Jonalin laid claim not only in the room but in our hearts!
When Special Education Classes were moved to Westside from Northside. We were welcomed with open arms and many got drawn in by Jonalin’s magnetism! Things changed and we started venturing out to visit other classes, partly for social skills but MOSTLY for Missy Lundy to get her fill of Jonalin…:)
Teresa Morrison and I got the sweet honor in escorting her on these visits and we got to see awesome things take place. We saw children who didn't understand special needs reach out and embrace our babies and love them more than anything.
Jonalin quickly became the “Queen of Westside” and she reigned with JOY!
Another huge change took place and it was time for Jonalin to move from Pre K into a K-5th grade class. None of us were sure how Jonalin would take to this because even tho she loved visiting it was Mrs. Joyce’s class she returned to everyday. It was decided that Mrs. Kristi would be her new teacher and that I would make the move with Jonalin and the other upcoming students. At first it was rocky but nothing good comes without struggle.
Almost immediately we fit in and Kristi, Miller and Guice were hooked! Miller like myself pledged to have Jonalin love her and we both were very pleased to see her succeed! Guice became Jonalin’s cup filler and Jonalin never ceased to pound her cup on the table as a reminder if Guice got behind!
We continued to venture out and it quickly became desired to have Jonalin visit for social skill time! Teacher's like Laura Kelley enjoyed and welcomed the love Jonalin brought with her to class. Jonalin matured and came into her own and we all felt even more blessed to be a part of her! I remember one child saying “Jonalin is the most popular girl in this whole school” and she was!
The more Jonalin visited these classrooms the brighter her light became…She wasn't meant to be hidden…She was meant to SHINE!
She was fearfully and wonderfully made and God knew exactly how far she would reach if given the opportunity and Westside gave her wings!
Jonalin was notorious for seeking out the troubled, the hurting and with that glorious laugh she turned many worlds right. It didn't take big eloquent words- just a little girl with a HUGE personality! (and sometimes a big stick, because we all know she could whip Goliath if need be)
If you played a part in Jonalin’s world you can smile because each of us helped her complete what she was created for.
12 years ago on this very date she entered this world and made it a better place. She did more in her 11 years than most of us will do in a lifetime! Her parents didn't put her in a bubble and keep her for themselves…they selflessly let her live life to the fullest and she did!
Nila, Jon, Raymond, Martha Jane... THANK YOU!
God picked ya’ll special to raise His lil Light and ya’ll did and extraordinary job!
I feel positive that if Jonalin wanted you to know anything today it would be her famous
We love ya’ll and there are NO words to say how thankful we are for this adventure. I am sure I can speak on behalf of Westside when I say we feel your loss and we’ll each cling to the memories and with you we’ll carry on her light. We will NEVER forget! Love Always...Tiffany McGee and room 126
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