Wed. May 18th, 2022

Brittany Walters promised her mother the day she died Cancer: Brittany and her father wanted to return home, where the high school was nominated for queen.

Her mother, AJ Walters, administrator at Mississippi’s Forrest County Agricultural High school, never missed anything when she was growing up – from award-winning collections to games she cheered on. Her mother did not want her to miss her big moment, Walters said.

Brittany Walters and Nyla Covington.
Nyla Covington passes on her crown to Brittany Walters. (CNN)

Walters, who aspires to become a nurse, did not win the homecoming queen that night, but thanks to a kind act that has created a healing light over a grieving family and community, she ended the night in a crown.

A selfless act

Senior Nyla Covington was voted home queen by fellow students at a school football game in late September. But a moment after being crowned, I felt compelled to crown another.

After requesting permission from school officials to do so, Covington went to Walters, stood next to his cowboy hat-clad father and laid the crown on her.

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“I just felt like it was something that was put on my heart,” Covington said CNN. “It was really just for her to bring up her day a little bit and she would rather have her mother than a penny … but the point was, I told her she was her mother’s queen and I was just letting her know that she was loved by many and especially me. “

Walters said she thought of her mother, the “school mother,” for so many who both stood beside them and stared back at them from the stands when Covington gestures surprised her.

“I just had so much love from her, and I just felt so much love for her and the whole school,” Walters said of Covington. “As soon as I got off the field, I just got hundreds of hugs from every single person in the stands.”

Brittany Walters and Nyla Covington.
The weeping couple hugs after the big moment. (CNN)

There were tears on and off the field.

Forrest County AHS School Principal Will Wheat recounts CNN he is proud of the young women.

“It was not pre-planned, it was all on the kids, that’s the beauty of it,” Wheat said. “We are elated and we are so excited about their actions and how it represents the school.”

Healing together

The two teenagers were friendly before returning home and volunteered together at various school functions, but say they have become closer since the event.

Walters has the crown that Covington would like her to keep, she said as a reminder of the moment.

“It’s just something materialistic, but we make sense of it, so that’s why I want her to keep it,” she said.

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Sean Walters, Brittany’s father, says their family handles their grief “day by day”.

“Just knowing that there are people out there who care about this story and know that it is not directly, but perhaps indirectly, maybe my life helps to reach many people, and just part of this story continues [AJ]”I guess the way she lived her life,” he said.

He thanked Nyla’s parents on his return and called them “wonderful people”.

“They’ve done a wonderful job raising their children. That’s what I told them. I said, ‘It shows how much and how much of a job you’ve done right here. Just the simplest act she did, “he said.

On Saturday, Walters held AJ’s funeral. Her wake was held the same night as a school football game.

Brittany Walters and Nyla Covington.
Brittany Walters and Nyla Covington pose together. (CNN)

Most of the school showed up.

Homecoming night was tough in so many ways for Brittany Walters. Her mother had touched so many hearts at school, and seeing their grief on their faces was hard to deal with in the midst of her own.

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But how the night unfolded – from a heartfelt action she will never forget to the support they felt all night – was in keeping with her mother’s spirit.

“I kind of feel like this is her way of continuing to help people because people who see Nyla do it will make them do something good,” she said. “That’s exactly what she wants to happen.”

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