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Bernard C. Brown II

Eleven-year-old Bernard Brown was clever, a quick wit, the kind of boy who kept his teachers on their toes. Estella Cleveland, who taught his fifth-grade class last year at Leckie Elementary School in Southeast Washington, loved him. 

“He used to give the fourth-grade teacher fits. But he turned it around last year. Everybody noticed it,” Cleveland said. 

That’s why Cleveland gave Bernard’s name to her best friend at Leckie, sixth-grade teacher Hilda Taylor, when Taylor asked whom she should take on a four-day National Geographic trip to California. 

Taylor drove from her home in Forestville before dawn Tuesday to Bolling Air Force Base, where Bernard lived with his parents, Bernard and Sinita Brown, in naval housing. Taylor left her car on the base, and the boy’s mother drove the two travelers to Dulles International Airport. An official at the Brown’s house said they did not want to speak about their son’s death. Cleveland said she was devastated about her former student’s death. 

“He was fun-loving,” she said. “He was the joy of the class.”

 

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