GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Zaylan would have started first grade Tuesday at Lyman Elementary School in Gulfport.
"We have a heavy heart for the family," said Dr. P. Peters, who is the assistant principal.
A new school year will begin at Lyman Elementary School, without a special first grader who had an infectious smile.
"The ones that are easy to remember are the ones who are smiling. Zaylan was always smiling. He was always happy," said Peters.
Dr. Peters says Zaylan only spent three months of last school year at Lyman Elementary. He transferred there from Gaston Point Elementary School and spent the end of the school year in Ms. Ellis' Kindergarten Class.
"He became part of the family immediately because of his smile, because a happy student is a student that's learning. And he, of course, passed to the first grade. We were so excited and we had our little graduation for the kinder-babies and he was just smiling the entire time," said Peters.
Zaylan's smiling face can still be seen in a collage on display in the hallway.
"Zaylan was so friendly. He would just walk up to you and grab you and you know kinder-babies they're kind of fun. They will just walk up to you and love to show love. Everybody loves love and that's what he showed me, and that's what he showed the Lyman family," said Peters.
That's what Dr. Peters says will be missed most about Zaylan, his smile, and that's also how he wants the teachers to remember him when the new school year begins.
"I told all the staff today and I told Ms. Upton, make sure you have a smile on your face," said Peters.
Dr. Peters says grief counselors will be on hand to talk with any students who want to talk about the incident.