Washington Middle School honors student with a memorial bench

Local News

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Washington Middle School now has a place to remember a Massiah Washington, who died from heart failure last year.

Her classmates, teachers, and administrators all worked together to have a memorial built in her honor.

School administrators say they had a lot of community help.

Family and friends of Massiah say they are still heartbroken from her passing.

“It was terrible because it was Massiah. That was my baby and she was so young, ” says Massiah’s Aunt Vonda banks.

12-year-old Massiah Darnel Washington attended Washington Middle School in Evansville.

“She just had a spirit about her that was joyful.”

Many people didn’t know about Massiah’s medical issues hidden behind her contagious smile.

Massiah and several of our family members were born with congenital heart failure and Massiah had a heart problem.

She passed away October 2018.

Washington Middle School principal Michele Branson says it was difficult getting the news.

“When messiah passed there was definitely a hole she left a big hole in our building.”

“It’s not the same because I had homeroom with her so I’m like around her a lot it doesn’t feel the same we still got pictures of her hanging up in the homeroom though.”

Lingering sadness inspired classmates to come together and collect bottle caps to build a bench in her honor.

“They came in truckloads literally truckloads our community came together we had other schools that came together collected bottle caps our students brought them in our family members.”

The blue bench was placed near the playground with a garden and a mini-library.

Students say they visit the bench before class and during lunch.

“It was something that they could do to remember her something that they knew that they would be able to put out back that would be a place that will always be able to go they could sit the could recall those memories.”

One memory Massiah’s family and friends remember is her doing what she loved, dancing.

She would do flips down the hallway from the little gym to the big gym. She danced to everything.

To honor messiah’s request Banks created a dance team under the name Massiah’s Angels. The dance team recently changed their name to Massiah’s Destiny and anyone can join here.

School administrators say they received so many donated bottle caps that they had enough to create four benches.

A second was made and that on is going to Massiah’s family.

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(This story was originally published on August 14, 2019)

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