As the sun set over Mobile, Thursday evening, April 12, dozens of people gathered at Collier Elementary School to celebrate the birthday of a little boy who would have been turning six-years-old.
That little boy was Kamden Johnson, a child who tragically died in August 2017 while in the hands of his daycare, Community Nursery and Preschool Academy on Hillcrest Road.
But Thursday’s ceremony was not about how Kamden died, it was about remembering the sweet little boy he truly was and honoring his memory.
Collier Elementary was the school at which Kamden attended kindergarten. According to the principal, he was only a student there for eight days, before his life was cut short.
After his death, the school decided to create a kindness path in his honor.
Thursday, the school held the dedication ceremony.
Students sang happy birthday, and everyone in attendance released a balloon into the sky.
“We’re sending them up to Kamden,” said the school’s principal, Michelle Shropshire.
The path sits directly in front of the school and is meant to encourage kindness in Kamden’s name.
“To have a piece of someone left,” said Shropshire. “The path will always be here, it will always be something that will remind us, first off, of the importance of being kind, but on the other hand, to be reminded of the value that each person has in life, and to appreciate the uniqueness of each individual.”
The path is made up of more than 1,000 rocks, hand-painted by students and staff.
At the ceremony, the school also donated a $1,000 check to Kamden’s mother, Jasmyn Williams.
The school raised the money by selling sno-cones.
Police believe Kamden died after he was left in a hot van by a daycare worker, who allegedly left his body on the side of Demetropolis Road in Mobile.
Valarie Patterson, who worked at Kamden’s daycare, was charged with manslaughter and abuse of a corpse in his death.
A grand jury decision on those charges is still pending.
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