Quiet halls tell the story of heartbreak as students return to school without Colton Williams

Monday, Dec. 2, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Students in Williston are returning to school after the Thanksgiving death of Colton Williams. (Source: WRDW)

WILLISTON, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- The hallways of Kelly Edwards Elementary School are quiet Monday. The heartbreak through the doors is overwhelming.

The principal, teachers, and students are all wondering how to move forward after losing one of their own.

Nakeisha Baxley, principal at Kelly Edwards, says the news of the death of Colton Williams in a tragic hunting accident, came in a wave of sadness.

"To say sadness and grief is an understatement,” Baxley said. “In my career of 20 years in education, this is a first. It was tragic for me, I knew my kids would not take it well. It's just, it's heartbreaking."

Baxley says Colton was a group leader. He was also a football player, about to play in the all-star game in a few weeks. He told his PE coach, Dalton Mundy, he wanted to win a state championship one day.

"Every student here impacts you in a different way,” Mundy said. “Colton had his own little way of impacting all of us."

Mundy says honoring Colton means everything to teachers and students.

"I give a sportsmanship award every week and something I did was gave him an honorary award so his name will go up on the board for the rest of the year,” Mundy said.

Colton will also get an honorary boys club membership. And, of course, a place in each one of their hearts.

The principal says they are working to set up a balloon release with the students and Colton’s family on Friday. Details are still in the works, but it will be a community-wide effort.

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