Mon | Jul 15, 2024

‘I don’t know how to remove Xavier from my life’

Mourners celebrate life of slain 8-y-o

Published:Thursday | September 30, 2021 | 12:12 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
Xavier Phillips.
Xavier Phillips.

The teacher of eight-year-old Xavier Phillips, who was shot dead at a football field in Howells Content, Clarendon, five months ago, told mourners yesterday that she has been finding it difficult to remove his name from her register. Jacqueline...

The teacher of eight-year-old Xavier Phillips, who was shot dead at a football field in Howells Content, Clarendon, five months ago, told mourners yesterday that she has been finding it difficult to remove his name from her register.

Jacqueline Codner-Shand, a teacher at the Red Hills Primary School, broke down as she spoke of her vibrant star student, who participated in many school activities, during the celebration of his life yesterday.

“This morning, I went into my Google Classroom and I could not take his name out. I looked in my register and I could not take his name out. I don’t know how to remove Xavier from my life,” she said.

“He was the light of every party and the light in every dark area – that infectious smile would always soothe over anything that was wrong. During virtual classes, if Xavier did not log in, my days would not be bright. There was so much promise in Xavier,” the teacher told hundreds of mourners who watched the streaming of the service.

THOUGHTFUL STUDENT

Codner-Shand said that Xavier was a thoughtful student who often brought gifts for teachers.

“If ripe bananas were in season, we’re getting ripe bananas, or whatever he had. I did not know that all of what Xavier was doing was trying to tell us he was not going to be with us forever,” she said.

Xavier was killed on Sunday, April 8, as he watched a football game in Howells Content, near York Town, as gunmen alighted from a vehicle and opened fire at the crowd. Two other persons were injured.

The youngster, who was in the area visiting his maternal relatives, would normally ride his bicycle on the playing field after the game.

Yesterday, Xavier’s aunt, Nardica Phillips, said that the loss was very painful.

“He smiled throughout his eight years and five months, bringing joy and happiness to everyone. He was superexcited to end this semester and spend time with his family in Howells Content,” said Phillips.

She said Xavier was anxious to play on the football field that fateful day.

“The Saturday night before his passing, he told his grandmother, Paula, that he had a huge football field in his yard to ride his bicycle and play, and he was going to eat some corn flakes and head to bed. Little did she know Xavier would not be coming home forever,” Phillips said.

In the eulogy, she shared that Xavier harboured dreams of becoming a soldier, an engineer, and a professional race car driver and had a knack for building and fixing things. She described him as an intelligent and well-mannered child, who mandated himself as a personal helper to his great-grandmother, with whom he shared a special bond.

Moderator Leo Lewis asked mourners to use Xavier’s death as fuel to continue praying for the nation’s children.

“It’s never an easy situation to lose a loved one, especially if that person was one of promise, and in this case, he was a person of promise and potential. It’s a devilish act when we see someone with so much promise and potential being snuffed out at such an early age,” Lewis said.

Several mourners who gave tributes described Xavier as a jovial child who was wise beyond his years.

Xavier’s burial has been scheduled for today.

olivia.brown@gleanerjm.com