Community comes together to mourn Smyer student Tim Steele

Community comes together to mourn Smyer student Tim Steele

SMYER, TX (KCBD) - The community of Smyer is in mourning tonight, as it comes together to help a family say goodbye to their son.

15-year-old Tim Steele died unexpectedly this weekend. Officials say the cause of his death is unknown, but they don't believe any foul play was involved.

KCBD spoke to Tim's classmates to learn what they're doing to honor his memory.

"Tim came to this school when he was in kindergarten and he ended up being the only person who showed up to my kindergarten birthday party….and we've been best friends pretty much ever since," says Brendon Johnson, a Smyer freshman.

Johnson says he's still trying to make sense of Tim's death.

"I've been having a hard time grasping how real it is," Johnson says.

But Johnson says he's impressed with how the student body and faculty has come together to support each other and recognize the kind of person Tim was.

"He was so outgoing, and free-spirited," says Ryan Cantu, a Junior at Smyer.

"Tim was a very special young man, not an enemy one, friends to all," says Biology teacher and head baseball coach, Mike Schaap.

With only about 200 students at Smyer High School, Tim's loss is felt strongly.

"You see them every're used to saying like 'hi' in the hallway, or, 'how are you'…and all the sudden they're not there," says senior, Alexis DeLeon.

"You can feel the air, it's heavy, the atmosphere is real. You can see it on everyone's face," says Kaitlin Franklin, also a senior.

Some of the students decided this time of grief was the right time to act.

"I thought that any way we could help deal with the emergency expenses, we could," says junior, and drum major, Aryiah Stith.

"We set a donation bucket out in front of the office. Each kid can just throw some spare change, or whatever, and they're writing a message on a index card, and we're gonna tie it to a balloon and release it on Friday," Stith says.

"I thought maybe if they could write a memory, or if they felt regretful for not saying I love you, you're a great friend, they can say it one more time," Franklin says.

Johnson says his memories of Tim are reflective of the person he was.

"He was very passionate about what he did. He loved everything he did and he was very happy with his life," Johnson said.

But while the students grieve, they remember that Tim's kindness was felt by all.

"I believe that God used him in that way to impact all of us, and I feel like, this is, he did his job, he has impacted all of us very well," says freshman, Kade Steward.

T-shirts are being sold in Tim's memory, with the proceeds going to his family to pay for funeral expenses.

An additional fundraiser, an Easter breakfast, is set for Saturday morning at the Applebee's in Lubbock, near 4th and Milwaukee, from 8 to 10 a.m.

Visitation will be held Friday evening at Lakeridge Chapel, located at 6025 82nd Street in Lubbock.

There will be a graveside service at 2 p.m. Saturday at Peaceful Gardens, at 15602 TX-493 Loop in Lubbock.

The funeral will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, at Aldersgate, located at 10306 Indiana Avenue, also in Lubbock.

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