Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:36PM - 342 Views

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Julia Roberts Goad

Staff Writer

TOLER, Ky. — Southside Elementary gathered to pay tribute to one of their own, Carmen Keene, a headstart teacher who passed away this week.

A program of music and prayer was highlighted by a balloon release, with each grade at the school sharing a word they felt described Ms. Keene: devoted, compassionate, unique, loving, caring and funny. Her headstart class used the word ‘purple’ as they released purple balloons into the air.

A tree was planted in her honor at the school, accompanied by a memorial bench built by the Belfry High Vocational School. Members of Ms. Keene’s family took part in a ceremony dedicating the tree to Ms. Keene.

Carolyn Hylton, a former teacher at Southside, wrote a tribute that was read at the ceremony, part of which follows:

“For all of us who worked with her, the children who loved her and all whose lives were happier because of her, there is a huge emptiness now. Her gift to us will remain through the faces of the hundreds that she taught and loved unconditionally.”

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