Monsters took the lives of two Jones County High School students last week. One was named Cancer and the other COVID-19.
The news of the loss of Jordan Miller and Emma Moseley was announced with a phone call to parents the morning of Sept. 1, along with information about the availability of grief counselors at the school for students.
A Sept. 1 Facebook post on the Jones County High School page expressed the loss felt by the staff.
“As educators, the loss of a student is always tragic. The loss of two students at the same time is unimaginable. After all, your kids become our kids. We are heartbroken at the loss of Emma and Jordan. Please lift up these student’s families as well as our JCHS family as we come to terms with this terrible loss.”
Emma was 16 and Jordan 18 at the time of their deaths.
Jordan was a 12th grade student at Jones County High. Although he was non-verbal and suffered from severe autism, he touched many lives.
One of his teachers, Carrie Chastain, said he loved listening to music and spending time in the afternoons with his friends.
“Jordan enjoyed sitting with his friends and being close to others. He had a beautiful smile and loved moving to his own beat. He will be greatly missed by his teachers and peers,” she said.
Teacher Chance Scott also recalled Jordan’s love of music.
“He was a loving kid who enjoyed his teachers,” Scott said.
Jordan’s official cause of death was listed as respiratory failure due to COVID-19.
Emma was introduced to Jones County Board of Education members at their May 11 meeting as a Spotlight student by Mary Frances Stewart. She said Emma was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, in February of 2020 and was forced to finish the remaining of the year on hospital bound curriculum.
Stewart said the student enrolled in the Virtual Academy for the current school year due to her continued treatments that included chemotherapy, surgery, radiation to her leg and lungs, physical therapy and multiple trips to doctors and hospitals for labs and scans.
“Despite it all, she has managed to maintain her schoolwork, and, in fact, has already completed her Literature, Biology, Geometry, World History and Psychology classes – two weeks early,” Stewart said.
She said Moseley has had the support of her mother, April Haynes Westmoreland, and stepfather James through it all.
“Her determination and drive to fight her cancer and still maintain her schoolwork is nothing short of amazing. In the words of Bonnie Peters-Martin, ‘Emma is my hero,’” the director said. “We are so proud of all you have accomplished.”
School Superintendent Chuck Gibson called Emma an inspiration.
Emma spoke briefly in response to questions of how, with all of her challenges, she could manage to finish early.
“I always stayed ahead to prepare for the bad days,” she said.
Board Chairman Ginger Bailey spoke for the board members.
“You didn’t let your illness dictate your life,” Bailey said. “We are so proud of you.”
Facebook was flooded with condolences for Emma whose brave fight, determination and especially her incredible smile through it all affected so many lives. She also fought for others as a participant in Hunting for a Cure, the Outdoor Dream Foundation and was the poster child for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Peters-Martin was so close to Emma that she received condolences on social media. She responded to the posts with gratitude.
“The teacher isn’t always an adult if the greater lesson comes from the child. Emma Moseley became my teacher from the moment I met her. Her lessons on courage, faith, sheer determination, loyalty, wringing happiness and joy from every moment, and how to love with a smile are forever stamped on my heart, and I am better for it. Rest easy, beautiful warrior.”
Emma’s complete obituary can be found in this week’s edition.