Teen sisters grieving loss of parents, cherish love and support from school

Posted at 5:56 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 17:56:42-05

Jamila Lawson, 16, and Ayanna Lawson, 17, have already suffered a lot of loss in their young lives.

Two years ago, not long after their family's home burned down, their father passed away.

Then, on the first day of school this year, their mother died.

"I just feel like time heals everything and you just gotta try to be happy," said Jamila. "We were their princesses and everything."

"I just want everyone to know that it's okay," said Ayanna about her words of encouragement to fellow students at University Prep Academy High School in Midtown Detroit where the girls were recognized at Friday's school rally for their courage and perseverance. 

Principal Derrick Kellam said it was important to recognize their resilience and for the rest of the students to recognize the impact we all have on one another. 

And it was a time for Ayanna and Jamila to say thank you to the friends, teachers and school staff who helped support them through so many difficult times.

"I never thought a school would be so comforting to just two students," said Ayanna.

The sisters told 7 Action News they are so thankful to their family, including their older sister who now cares for them, and the extended family they have at school, where they hugged classmates near the end of the rally where so many students were acknowledged for their achievements.

Click on the video to hear from Jamila and Ayanna.