NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – The Aiken County community is mourning the loss of a teacher. She was a beloved part of the team at Mossy Creek Elementary School.
Janice Dawkins’ life was filled with faith and love. And her legacy, no doubt like many teachers, impacts this world.
“Oh, I had a beautiful little sister to come home that I could play with. A lot of joy that we had growing up together,” Cathy Grant told NewsChannel 6.
You won’t hear any bad big sister stories coming from Cathy Grant about her younger sister Janice Veronica Newsome Dawkins. Instead, you will hear stories like this one.
“Janice decided that she was going to go get in the car. Well, I didn’t know she was going to actually knock it out of gear. And all of a sudden the car started to roll. Daddy had a green, 500 Galaxy Ford. Next thing you know, that Galaxy Ford was into the house. I hollered, mama!”
And she was just 9-years-old then, Grant recalled.
Now, the 53-year-old educator is being remembered by more than just her family after working as a Special Educational Aid for Mossy Creek Elementary School for the past 15 years.
“She tutored children. She would talk to the parents over the phone. And when they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, it hurt her a lot,” she said.
Aiken County Public School district issued a statement on the death of Dawkins, which sadly came alongside the death of a student:
We are heartbroken and deeply saddened to learn of the loss of two beloved members of our school district family in Mossy Creek Elementary School special education aide Janice Dawkins and Belvedere Elementary School student Riggs Lindsay. Ms. Dawkins is remembered as an amazing colleague and friend, and Riggs as always smiling with a giggle that was contagious. School district counselors are providing continued support this week for all staff, students, and families affected by these tremendous losses. Information regarding additional counseling resources is being shared with the respective school communities. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with both the Dawkins and Lindsay families, as well as the Mossy Creek Elementary School and Belvedere Elementary School families during this most difficult time.
Like many teachers, Dawkins went into the classroom, at least four days a week at Mossy Creek, on the front lines during the pandemic. It’s a sacrifice that state Superintendent Molly Spearman said should be met with moving teachers up the vaccination line in order to keep schools staffed properly.
“This changes the game for schools trying to stay open,” Superintendent Spearman said to media recently. “This alone gives us a reason to move educators and staff to 1 A.”
Outside of the classroom, Dawkins was a faithful member of Second Providence Baptist Church where she sang in the mass choir. And her love for children extended there too.
“Our Angel Tree supports our schools at Christmas time with presents for the children,” Grant said. “So, Janice took over to make sure that Mossy Creek was added to our list.”
Dawkins leaves behind her husband Wade and her daughter Makayla, who loved ones say is a college student upstate. And her love for her family is something her nephew Lucas Grant will always remember.
“Her kind heart, hear warm heart,” he exclaimed. “She would take the shirt off her back and give it to anyone. I know my family is going to miss this. They looked at me as if I’m the one that did this, but I’m not. My aunt would always get with me and say hey, when we going to do our family dinner?”