By Marla Jones, Sports Editor
VALLEY HEAD, Ala.— On Friday, a group of seniors gathered at DeSoto Falls for what is known as “Senior Skip Day.” The students were spending time with each other as their Senior year was coming to a close. Several students were swimming at the basin of the falls when tragedy happened. According to reports, Aaron Coles was swimming 230 feet away from the beach area when he went under and did not resurface.
Emergency personnel from Dekalb Ambulance Service, Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Payne Fire Department, DeSoto Rescue Squad and officials from the Alabama State Parks and The National Parks Service were on hand to support and assist.
“Aaron came from Ohio to Valley Head two years ago. He was someone you wanted to be around. He was a good kid, very respectful, “ said Principal Bill Monroe. “He was a good athlete and played many positions on the football field. Usually when someone moves in, it takes a while to make new friends. Not with Aaron, people just gravitated to him.”
According to Monroe, a group of Seniors wanted to hold a candlelit vigil on Friday night for Coles and over 300 people showed up. It was his task to inform them that Coles body was found. At this time, it was decided by students and Coles' mother that prom should go on. The students asked Coles’ brother to attend in his honor. Seniors, gathered and danced as they played Coles favorite song. At the crowning ceremony of the prom, the King, Blake Evans, gave Coles’ younger brother the crown in his brother's honor. “We have a great group of Seniors.” Monroe said.
On Monday, parents started bringing the leftover food from the prom to the school. Seniors started to gather and to meet with the counselors. They reminisced and Monroe believes this along with the viewing, gave them closure. “This has been a process the past few days. We all have mourned.” said Monroe. “The community has came together and showed so much support. They hurt when we hurt.”
The family will hold Aaron Coles funeral in Ohio. An account has been set up at Citizens Bank in Valley Head for those who would like to help.