Bovina Elementary supports ailing student

Published 9:00 pm Monday, January 22, 2018

Bovina Elementary fourth-grader Slade Lyons is one very lucky young man. He has 375 friends pulling for him to get well.

“He is a once in a lifetime student; teachers dream of having a student like him,” his teacher Christy Montgomery said. “He’s an all-around kid. He excels at everything. He has a wonderful heart and looks out for other kids. He challenges me because he wants to know more than what’s being taught.

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“He’s more than an honor student; he’s the kindest person of any student I’ve ever taught.”

But Monday morning, Slade wasn’t in school. He and his parents, Allen and Lee Anna Lyons, were at Blair Batson Children’s Hospital where he was awaiting surgery to remove a growth from his pituitary gland.

And his 375 friends at Bovina held a Monday morning balloon launch at the school that was broadcast on Facebook Live so Slade could watch it from his bed.

The balloon launch was the idea of school parents Carrie Hoben and Nicole Gilmer, who decided to put the program together with 18 other volunteers who ignored an early morning thunderstorm to blow up balloons in the school auditorium in anticipation of better weather.

“We all wanted to do something really nice for Slade because he’s such a good kid,” Hoben said.

Besides the balloon launch, signs supporting Slade and asking for prayer were posted along Interstate 20 by the school, and students prepared their own signs of support that were taken to Slade.

And the group effort went beyond floating balloons and posting signs.

“We have three weeks of meals planned for the family so they won’t have to worry about cooking,” Hoben said, “and we also have gift cards for the family.”

Hoben, whose son Peyton is Slade’s friend — “his best friend” — said Slade had been complaining of persistent headaches and went to the doctor about a week ago. The doctors did an MRI of his head and discovered the mass.

“It happened all so fast,” his aunt, Cassidy Lyons said. “He went in and they kept him.”

She called the balloon launch and the effort to help the family overwhelming.

“It’s so special how this community has come together to do all this for Slade and his family,” she said.

Lyons, who lives in Florida, came to Warren County over the weekend. She said her daughter Prelsey, who is the same age as Slade, insisted upon it.

“When we heard about his problem, I asked Presley if she wanted to call him. She said ‘no. We need to go see him.’ Slade is so positive and so upbeat about this. His attitude is so mature; he’s like a little man.”

Slade’s grandparents, Sherwood and Melissa Lyons, said they were very grateful for the outpouring of support they’ve seen for Slade.

“There’s a prayer line of support from one end of this country to the other,” Melissa Lyons said. “It just warms your heart. I don’t think this could happen anywhere else. We’ve had people come and visit in the hospital; we’ve had 30 people up there at one time. “

“We’re blessed,” Sherwood Lyons said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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