Morgan County first-grader, Maddox Jones, would have turned 8 years old last Friday, April 23, but his life was tragically cut short after his mother allegedly shot and killed him on the morning of March 1.
Alison Jones, 36, is currently in custody, awaiting her next hearing, after being arrested and charged with murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in the death of Maddox Jones.
The news of Maddox’s murder sent shockwaves through the local community, especially at Morgan County Primary School, where Maddox attended the first grade.
Teachers and students have been mourning the loss of Maddox since his death, and decided to hold a special memorial service at the primary school to celebrate his life on what would have been his 8th birthday.
“It was the perfect day for us to gather together and celebrate his precious life. We began with a small ceremony in our school garden,” said MCPS Principal James Wyatt. “Our school garden is a place where students and faculty frequently visit, so it was a perfect location to plant a tree in his memory.”
School officials, teachers and classmates all gathered outside the school’s garden to plant a tree and place a special engraved stone in honor of Maddox Jones. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Virgil Cole and Assistant Superintendent Susan Tolbert also attended the ceremony. Principal Wyatt shared an uplifting message for the students present and MCPS Teacher Beth Golden spoke about Maddox’s time as her student before leading students in shoveling dirt atop the newly-planted tree.
“Each student was able to contribute to planting this special tree, a Japanese Maple, in Maddox’s memory,” said Wyatt. “Near the tree, a special memorial marker is placed that reads ‘Planted in Memory of Maddox Jones...Rooted in Love.’”
The marker was anonymously given to the school to honor Maddox.
“We appreciate the anonymous donor for their generosity and kindness,” said Wyatt.
The memorial was a moving and difficult experience for those who knew and loved Maddox.
“To close the ceremony, the students were all given a bottle of bubbles to blow and release,” said Wyatt of the symbolic exercise to help the young children work through their grief.
“There were a couple of other ways students and teachers were able to celebrate his life today. Maddox’s friends shared that he loved Pokemon, so his classmates and teachers were all presented with a Pikachu T-shirt. After lunch, the class celebrated his birthday with cupcakes. Each student was also presented with a Linus blanket in memory of Maddox.”
According to Wyatt, community members have rallied around MCPS to help teachers and students work through this unfathomable tragedy at such a young age.
“We would like to thank our school family and our Morgan County community for helping us navigate through this difficult time. Maddox was very special to us and we miss him dearly,” said Wyatt.