The students who attend Alderson Academy began their day with a moment of silence in memory of their classmates Mahogany, Kadiece and Kasheim Allen. "Today we're focusing on the kiddos and classes and students that know the children involved," explains Alderson Principal Denise Mattson.
She says students and teachers are devastated, with so many questions and only memories of who the Allen kids were. "Happy, boisterous, you knew them when they were around and they wanted to be everywhere. They loved hugs, they loved people," reveals Mattson with a smile.
"Mahogany was always taking care of her little brothers, she was the caretaker of them at school and made sure things were going well," she says. It was a quality likely instilled by their mother, Tammy Cooper, who Mattson says was an involved parent. "She was just working really hard to keep her family together, was at everything that we had available for parents. She really wanted them to succeed and do well," says Mattson.
And it was also apparent to neighbors that Cooper was a protective and caring mother. "I used to see her sometimes at the bus stop with the kids and stuff, being active, you know. She was a good mom," remarks neighbor and family friend Marquita Westbrook.
Fifteen counselors were on hand today helping students deal with this tragedy. This is the second time this semester that students at Alderson Academy have dealt with the death of a classmate. Just more than a month ago, 11-year old Ronald Willis Junior died from a gunshot wound. He was Mahogany Allen's classmate.