Tributes flow at funeral of Central High student
The festive atmosphere at the Central High School auditorium in Clarendon was testament to the student whose life was being celebrated.
Fifteen-year-old Areel Foster, who succumbed to her illness at the Kingston Public Hospital on January 16, was described as someone no one could be sad around.
One after the other, accolades and praises flowed for the student who had impacted their lives.
But perhaps the most poignant tributes came from her father, Michael, her aunt, and a teacher, Shelly Reid.
Michael Foster related the joys he experienced when Areel was born and how much he loved her.
"When I was dressed, she would tease: 'Look at my handsome, sexy daddy'," he said.
"Areel was like a magic kid. Sometimes we have to wonder if this child, anything can get her down," he said of his daughter who had a bubbly personality and was always full of life.
LOVE FOR SINGING
Foster said that Areel loved to sing and would show off her vocals around the house so much so that her older sister called her 'the little chipmunk'.
Areel's aunt, Nicola Dawkins, struggled through her tribute. She fought valiantly to control her tears as she remembered the child she had given a name she had been saving should she ever have a daughter.
She even recalled the excitement she felt when her late sister called her to tell her that Areel was born. From that moment, she said that her niece had a special place in her heart.
Areel's teacher, Shelly Reid, said that the first time they heard Areel's voice, they knew it would be something special. It was with that knowledge that they entered her in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's competition as a soloist. She won a gold medal in the parish finals and was sent on to the nationals.
Despite the tension, Reid recalled how Areel kept her cool.
"When I asked if she was nervous, she said, 'No, you nuh. Miss, mi nuh see nobody else but myself!'"
Following the thanksgiving service, Areel was laid to rest at the Denbigh Cemetery.