Father honors late daughter’s memory with surprise field trip for her classmates

Posted at 6:15 AM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 06:15:41-04

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – An Alabama father mourning the loss of his daughter decided to honor her memory by treating her classmates to a field trip before the school year comes to a close.

Monday morning, 111 G.W. Trenholm second graders shed their shoes and replaced them with jump socks at the Florence location of SkyZone.

The 112th student on this field trip would have been Jaleia Smith.

“(We) try to have as much fun as we can, but sometimes we can’t have as much fun as we would have if she was here,” explained second-grader Mia Awwad.

“I’m not going to say it’s tough,” said Jeremy Smith, Jaleia’s father. “I'm going to say I just wish my daughter could have been here with them. This is one of her places that she loved to come to.”

For her 8th birthday party, Jaleia and her friends jumped on these same mats. Three weeks later, on September 27, 2018, tragedy struck the Smith family through a car wreck. The little girl who had just posed with butterfly wings in the school cafeteria, grew a different set.

Jaleia's father wanted to end the school year on a positive note by showing his appreciation to the students and teachers. In his daughter’s honor, Smith paid for all 111 students to enjoy his daughter’s favorite activity.

“Everything they helped me through with my daughter’s situation; all the support they gave me,” said Smith. “I just wanted to thank G.W. Trenholm for being there with me through my sorrows.”

Following the tragic wreck and Jaleia’s passing, her classmates retired her student number at school and planted a tree. Messages to Jaleia have been left on her classrooms chalk-board all year also in her honor.