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Students, Faculty Mourn Loss of 13-Year-Old Ashdown Boy

Loved ones say 13-year-old Coleman Pearson was a football player and a well-liked student at Ashdown Junior High School.
A lot of kids don't understand when you lose a buddy.
Coleman Pearson
Coleman Pearson
ASHDOWN, AR -- Family and friends are remembering a junior high school student who died fighting what's believed to be a rare infection and possibly the first of its kind in Arkansas.

Loved ones say 13-year-old Coleman Pearson was a football player and a well-liked student at Ashdown Junior High School.

"Today was a very emotional day," Principal James Jones said.

Hours after the final bell, the overwhelming emotion of losing a student, classmate and friend still filled the halls.

"We've been doing the signs there the prayed walls there," Jones said.

Covering the walls are posters and prayers in honor of Coleman.

"The kids are very upset, especially the eighth grade," Jones said. "They've had a rough time accommodating. A lot of kids don't understand  when you lose a buddy. It's hard to understand why, especially when he's 13."

Coleman's friends and classmates were praying his condition would turn around for weeks and that the safety would don No. 32 and hit the field with his friends again.

After news of his death Tuesday, they continue relying on their faith.

"Most of these kids have been really affected by this. It’s been really tough on them," Coach David Wilson said.

Coleman is the fourth child Wilson has lost in his 25 years here.

"He was a polite, young man concerned about his family and concerned with the way we treated each other," Wilson said.

And that's how they hope he'll be remembered.

"Just as a member of our family," Jones said. "We miss him a lot."

The principal says students are  having a 7:45 a.m. prayer meeting at the flag pole on Thursday, and his funeral is Friday.

The community is welcome to come and remember Coleman.

The Facebook page "Prayers for Coleman" is still very active as people continue showering his family with support.

The Facebook page stated that Coleman was infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a rare infection passed through mosquitoes.

The state says it sent lab tests to the CDC to confirm the diagnosis, but it cannot report the results right now due to patient privacy laws.

If confirmed, it would be the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis on record in the state of Arkansas.

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