East Central Community College is mourning the sudden loss of sophomore Early Childhood Education Technology major Marquitta Moore of Newton, who died in her sleep Monday (Dec. 2) night.

ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart said Moore "touched many lives" while attending the college she "loved."

"The college community was saddened to learn about the death of Marquitta," said Dr. Stewart. "She was such a special young lady who touched many lives while a student here at East Central. When I contacted her mother to express our condolences, she told me that Marquitta just loved East Central. I told her that East Central loved her and will miss her greatly."

The 25-year-old was a graduate of Newton High School and is remembered on the ECCC campus for her smile.

"I feel the world has lost a jewel," said Debra Payton, Director of the ECCC Childcare Center and one of Moore's instructors. "Marquitta Moore went to be with Jesus Tuesday (Dec. 3) morning and the childcare center here at East Central will never be the same. When Marquitta entered the center a ray of sunlight followed her. Marquitta loved these babies and showed that each and every moment she spent with them."

Childcare attendant Karen Townsend described Moore as "an exceptional example of what humanity should exude."

"She wore a smile when there were days I am sure she wanted to give up.  Marquitta always had a hug and a kind word for me. I never remember one time in the four years I knew her that she was anything but humble and loving."

Childcare attendant Christa Robinson said she remembers Moore coming into the childcare's baby room and always smiling at the babies on the days she had lab.

"She so loved our babies and always had that special smile and loving heart," Robinson said.

Sheri Anders, Moore's adviser and early childhood education technology instructor, described Moore as a very thoughtful and loving person.

"She loved everyone and was always stopping in to visit and make sure that you were doing OK," Anders said. "She was passionate about finishing her degree and determined to make it happen. This week has been very hard during class because her sweet face hasn't been there to greet everyone. She made more of an impact on those around here than she ever realized."

Payton said Moore was a student who overcame adversities.

"Marquitta had special needs but she was never hindered by them," Payton said. "She excelled in everything she did. She had a character full of grit, determination and loyalty.  Our world will never be the same without her but we are sure that Heaven is rejoicing at this very moment."

Lead teacher Chafony Evans-Poole who had known Moore since Moore was a child described Moore as the most determined child she has ever known.

"She was truly an inspiration to all. She set out to achieve anything she put her mind to do."

This semester, Moore was in Evans-Poole's lab, the preschool age group.

"Every morning the children looked for her to come and play in the block area where they loved to build castles," Evans-Poole said. "We all know that she is happily building castles in the sky with Jesus and loving on all his little children. The world was a better place because of her."

During her time at ECCC, Moore also was a proud member of the Wall O' Sound Marching Band where she played the clarinet for several years.

Visitation was scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9 at Dunlap and Thames Funeral Home in Newton.

Services were noon Tuesday, Dec. 10 at St. Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Newton.