‘James was important. James was loved;’ School leaders hold vigil for Middletown six-year-old

MIDDLETOWN — With a candle burning, balloons in hand, and portraits and photos of six-year-old James Hutchinson all around, hundreds filled Barnitz Stadium in Middletown Tuesday evening for a vigil in following the child’s death this past weekend.

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“Tonight is all about us as a community,” Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles said at the gathering, organized as an opportunity for classmates, teachers and community members to grieve the loss of the six-year-old.

>>PREVIOUS REPORT: Police chief: Mother is ‘not showing much remorse’ after death of Middletown boy

Police said Hutchinson’s mother, Brittany Gosney, murdered him this weekend. She and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, are both facing charges in this case.

>>PHOTOS: Memorial for James Hutchinson grows outside Middletown home

But this night was an opportunity to remember James Hutchinson.

“His enthusiasm for school was remarkable,” said one of Hutchinson’s former teachers. School leaders remarked – even the COVID-19 pandemic this past year could not stop Hutchinson’s trademark daily hugs – all part of a positive energy teachers said was infectious – both for them, and for classmates.

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“When I close my eyes and picture James, I see him rounding the corner coming toward the Kindergarten classrooms,” a former teacher said at the vigil. “I see his little hands clenching the straps of his backpack, and feet rapidly coming down the hall. He would be the first one to greet me each morning.”

The vigil included a word of prayer, a moment of silence, a few audience members releasing balloons… and a determination for James Hutchinson’s legacy to live on.

“James is going to live on because we’re going to do everything to make sure James’ life matters to each and every one of us,” Middletown parent Rosecetta Huff said. “I’m glad we all came together.”

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