A metro Atlanta school system has released a touching note to honor a third-grade student who died of an aggressive form of cancer.
Elizabeth Kaplan, known as Eli by her friends, was a student at Pine Log Elementary School in Bartow County who fought cancer not once but twice.
“She had no fear it seemed,” school counselor Francie Livingston said. “Eli was willing to try anything academically or socially. She was also the definition of love, as she loved her family and school fiercely, especially Ms. Allison Gilbert.”
According to their announcement, Gilbert taught Eli in kindergarten and second grade. Livingston said she was the little girl's hero. But it was a mutual feeling for this teacher as well.
"Elizabeth was the smallest in the class but she had the biggest heart," Gilbert said.
Eli wanted to be a teacher when she grew up and always wanted to help out in the classroom.
"Although she is no longer with us, we will always cherish the memories we have of her," Gilbert said.
The school has since notified parents at the school of Eli's death. They are offering a chance for parents to visit the school to discuss the situation with their children - without a professional counselor. Additional counselors will be available on Thursday at the school and across the community.
“We want to open it up to the community because Eli and her family were loved by all, not just her school family,” says Livingston.
It's the very same community that helped raise money for Eli's family in September. Through a Bartow County School System fundraiser, they raised $12,000 for them - and donations are still coming in.