Flood Warning: When rivers will crest and how high the water will get

Galesburg first graders remember classmate with balloon launch

GALESBURG, Illinois -  The Galesburg community celebrated the life of a first grader who passed away unexpectedly last week.

His short life was spent helping others.

First grader Jaden Lester died unexpectedly in his sleep after his tonsils became so inflamed that they cut off his breathing.

"In Jaden's six years of life he made the world a better place," said Steele Elementary School principal Matt Lingafelter.

The school is now encouraging students to live like Jaden.

"Jaden was a student that whether in the classroom, on the playground, or on the bus always wanted everyone - including himself - to do what was right and to be helpful towards one another," said Lingafelter.

His classmates released dozens of yellow balloons and his family sent six turquoise balloons into the air, representing the six years he spent on this Earth, doing more for others in six short years than most do in their lifetime.

His classmates and teacher ended the celebration the way Jaden would have wanted with a class hug.

"I knew him for five weeks and my heart is broken that we won't see him anymore," said Jaden's teacher, Casey Cooper.  "My heart breaks for his family, so I can imagine for all the people who knew him the entire six years of his life how much he impacted them because he was a really huge impact on mine."

Counselors have been at the school for students or staff who needs someone to talk to.

The school will also hang a banner with Jaden's picture and #LiveLikeJaden on it.