The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

October 23, 2013

Balloon released in Indiana boy's memory makes unlikely flight

KOKOMO, Ind. — A group of school children in central Indiana released 1,500 colorful balloons into the air last week in tribute to a friend who'd succumbed to a three-year battle with brian cancer. One of those balloons improbably sailed 799 miles and landed in a New England schoolyard, itself no stranger to tragedy.

Children at Western Primary School in Russiaville, Ind. - a town of about 1,100 people that is 60 miles north of Indianapolis - held a ceremony on the playground last Friday to remember Mason Hopkins, a 7-year-old who liked soccer and motorcycles, and called all girls "princesses."

“One of Mason’s best gifts was his ability to fill our buckets with just his friendly smile," his teacher said during the ceremony. "Because Mason touched our hearts in such a special way, we wanted to share that feeling with others. We hope that anyone who sees these balloons in the air today or finds them when they land will also smile and share their smile with others.”

Sure enough, three days later, several people walking their dogs spotted a white balloon outside Hunking Middle School in Haverhill, Mass. Attached was a note that read, "In memory of Mason Hopkins. You will be missed by Western Primary."

They shared the find with Principal Jared Fulgoni, who at first couldn't believe the ballon traveled as far as it did. An Internet search confirmed its origin and turned up an obituary written after Mason's death on Oct. 5.

His story resonated at the middle school, where a student recently died of cancer and a custodian several years ago lost his 8-year-old son to brain cancer.

“So, for us to have had this balloon float down to us was a powerful experience,” Fulgoni said. “It had given its all to make it here. It was weathered and beaten. It was in pretty rough shape.”

Western Primary Principal Steve Arthur said he was surprised to hear from the school in Massachusetts. Teachers in Russiaville are using its journey as an educational opportunity and another way to remember Mason.

“He loved coming to school,” Arthur said. “He loved to learn. He would be excited to find out where the balloons ended up. We hope to use this in a positive way.”

Lindsey Ziliak writes for the Kokomo, Ind., Tribune.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Social networks are the new matchmakers

    WASHINGTON - With studies showing that one-third of married couples started their relationships online, finding romance via URLs is no longer as novel - and creepy - as it seemed when dating sites launched in the mid-1990s.

    June 9, 2014

  • Dive into the World’s Most Diverse Marine Ecosystem when Journey to the South Pacific Arrives at Discovery Place on June 7

    CHARLOTTE – Audiences will be taken on an epic IMAX® adventure through the tropical islands of West Papua and experience one of the most extraordinary places on Earth, when the IMAX film Journey to the South Pacific comes to Discovery Place on June 7.

    June 6, 2014

  • iphone4.jpg Five major new features in iOS 8

    Apple has taken the wraps off its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, introducing a suite of new features to users aimed at streamlining some of their most annoying daily tasks.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results