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Remembering Zana

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Tree planted in memory of CMS student

By Jim Clark

She was only 14 years old when she collapsed and died on Good Friday, April 10. But she touched a lot of people and made a lot of friends in the community during her short stay on Earth.

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That was made evident by the ceremony held for Zana Nicole Mason at Chiefland Middle School last week. A talk by school principal Robert Turnipseed and a prayer by the Rev. Donnell Sanders remembered the girl who played on the school's basketball team, not knowing that she had a hidden heart problem that would suddenly cause grief for her family.

Her mother, Tiffany Mason, was at the ceremony and helped plant a tree in front of a new permanent marker near the school office. Other members of her family also attended.

Later, another person at the ceremony, Chontavia Strong, spoke to the Citizen of starting "Zana's Rose," a non-profit organization for mentorship for middle school-age girls.

"We're teaching leadership skills, and basically investing in their future," Strong said.

The program meets monthly at the school cafeteria and offers free tutoring in all subjects.

The next meeting of the organization will be in September after school starts. There will be a summer barbecue July 18 at Fanning Springs.

Anyone interested in joining in the fall is asked to call Strong at (352) 494-5289.