A former teacher of Aaliyah Rosa is planting a “tree of life” in memory of the seven-year-old girl who was tragically killed in July.
On Sept. 4 at 8:30 a.m., Ms. Angie, along with staff, parents and children at Sunflower Montessori in Walnut Grove, will hold a ceremony to plant a weeping cherry tree outside of the school that Aaliyah attended for four years.
The tree’s pink blossoms, which come into bloom each spring, will represent “the beauty of Aaliyah’s life,” a letter says.
“Aaliyah Isabella Rosa’s life was cut way too short. This amazing seven-year-old’s life ended tragically and too soon, affecting all of the staff and families at Sunflower deeply … Ms. Angie considers all of the children at her school a part of her family, and in the 30 years of teaching, she has never experienced losing a child.”
Emergency services were called to an apartment building near 200 Street and 68 Avenue in Willoughby on July 22 at about 9:30 p.m., where they found the seven-year-old Aaliyah deceased.
Aaliyah’s death was deemed a homicide and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) took charge of the case.
Investigators determined that it was an isolated incident and there was no risk to public safety.
Aaliyah’s mother, 36-year-old Kerryann Lewis, was arrested and charged on Aug. 17 with second degree murder for the girl’s death. Lewis made her first court appearance on Aug. 20, and the judge adjourned the hearing until Aug. 28.
In addition to the tree of life, Ms. Angie has also started the Aaliyah Isabella Rosa Fund. Each month of the school year, Sunflower Montessori will give a family at the school $300 to go towards an activity that will allow them to spend quality time together.
“The most important part of this fund is the letter that will accompany the cheque, describing Ms. Angie’s experience with Aaliyah and the love a child has for a parent,” the letter says.
“It is the dream of Ms. Angie that this fund will provide a little extra, allowing you to do something, anything, to celebrate your family.”