Cloudland Elementary remembers life of 8-year-old Roan Mountain resident

One life does not live isolated to itself; its actions can impact a multitude of others, to the point where an entire community can come together to remember those actions, even if they hardly knew him.

Every student in Cloudland Elementary gathered in the gym to honor and remember the life of 8-year-old Daius Young.

The school’s Counselor, Brandon Young, gave a brief speech to the school, talking about how his life impacted those around him.

“It would be impossible to share every story of how his life touched those around him because he was always up to something kind,” Young said.

In honor of the young boy’s favorite clothes, many of the students came in camo-colored clothes.

After the speech, Young shared with the family the school’s donation to the family: a total of $1,751 from many members of the community.

The students then followed Young outside, where they gathered around eight balloons: four blue and four gold. Holding each one up individually, Young asked the children what was one way they could make a “Daius difference” for those around them, and cut the balloon free, letting it soar into the sky.

“It was beautiful and touching,” Mrs. Young, Daius’s mother, said. “It felt like our community was supporting us.”

Young said Daius was actually homeschooled, and he did not actually go to Cloudland Elementary. However, he said that hardly mattered at all.

“We are a community here,” he said. “Roan Mountain sees ourselves as one big family.”

The kids who gathered in the gym that Friday afternoon got to hear a story about compassion, about how a single action, while not large, could make a big impact.

“Daius was not satisfied by sitting back and doing nothing,” Young said. “He wanted to show those around him love. He realized that love is a verb, and we all know love is an action verb.”

He told a story he heard from Mrs. Young.

“While on a recent vacation to Florida, [Mrs. Young] noticed trash on the beach, and each morning she began to pick it up and dispose of it. She soon realized that Daius and his siblings were doing the same thing,” he said. “She said that when everyone comes together to do something, no matter how small it seems, that it makes a huge impact and difference on the world around us.”

While the students cut the balloons free, one of them got stuck in the trees nearby, hanging where the branches were thickest. The children, unfazed, shouted out “We love you,” and as soon as they did, a gust of wind freed the balloon from the branches to join its friends in the afternoon sky.

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