PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A candlelight vigil Monday night celebrated the life of a little girl from Philadelphia who drowned last week at a motel pool down the shore, while also serving another purpose.
Parents hugged their children tight as balloons were released into the sky outside Grover Cleveland Mastery Charter School in North Philadelphia where six-year-old Isabella Grattic would have been a first-grader this fall.
“She will be greatly missed,” says principal Letisha Laws. “She was amazing, she was the ideal student, she was curious, she was eager to learn, she was very kind to her friends.”
Helen Williams was able to fight back the tears just long enough to talk about her granddaughter.
“She was smart, friendly, she loved to see everybody smile, and she’d help you no matter who you are, she didn’t even care,” Williams says, “and loved reading. She was growing, she was going to be someone.”
Williams and other family members held hands in prayer around a table with photos of Isabella. Dozens of other classmates and staff members joined in right behind them.
“We want to make sure that everybody knows how much the student means to our community,” adds Laws. “In addition to that there’s a greater issue here around pool safety, and we want to make sure we always lift up the lesson in any tragedy.”
Her message to parents:
“You presence is needed,” she said. “Students cannot supervise themselves. Take the opportunity to make sure all the things are put in place to make sure that all the things are put in place to ensure the students are safe throughout the summer.”
Isabella died at the hospital several hours after wondering into the deep end of the pool at the Nantucket Inn & Suites on July 8th while she was on vacation with her family.