12/09/04 — Meadow Lane students mourn for classmate

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Meadow Lane students mourn for classmate

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 9, 2004 1:57 PM

The 6-year-old daughter of recent school board candidate Joseph Hackett is on life support awaiting recipients to receive her organs, according to school officials.

Avery Jamison Hackett, a first-grader at Meadow Lane Elementary School, was taken to UNC hospital in Chapel Hill last week after suffering headaches and being diagnosed with a brain tumor. On Friday, doctors determined she needed surgery, which was performed on Monday.

According to Meadow Lane Principal Celia James, the surgery seemed to have gone well, but then her condition worsened dramatically over the next 48 hours.

"This was totally unexpected," she said.

On Wednesday, she said, Avery was pronounced brain dead. Her parents made the decision to keep her on life support until suitable recipients could be found for her organs.

Mrs. James said that Avery's teacher and a teaching assistant visited the family at the hospital on Wednesday. Meanwhile at the school, counselors informed Avery's classmates of the situation.

"Every parent was notified," she said. "Just about every parent was there with their child when we told the children.

"The parents were more upset than the children."

Ms. James said a letter was also sent home with all the students.

Today she said psychologists were on hand at the school for staff or students who needed to talk with them.

"Our staff is just devastated," she said.

Hackett, who ran for a seat on the school board twice in recent years but was defeated both times, had written in his biographical information that his daughter loved math "and wants to be a math teacher here in the Wayne County public schools and be a teacher with her mother." Gena Hackett has taught at Goldsboro High School for the past 17 years.

Revised on Thursday, December 9, 2004