Students in Mooresville, North Carolina, should have been packing backpacks and memorizing class schedules in preparation for the first day of school on Tuesday.
Instead, they were grieving the loss of one of their own.
Mooresville Graded School District confirmed in a statement Monday that Gavin Sharpe, 15, died after an accident during a service project on the high school campus over the weekend left him “seriously injured.”
“In an effort to respect the privacy of the Sharpe family, the school district will not offer additional comment at this moment,” MGSD spokesperson Tanae McLean said in a statement. “We will, however, continue to keep this family in our thoughts and prayers through this difficult time.”
Deputy Chief Gerald Childress of the Mooresville Police Department told McClatchy newsgroup on Monday that a traffic investigation is being conducted.
Iredell Firewire, which reports public safety news in Iredell County, said in a tweet Saturday that emergency workers responded to an incident at the high school around 1 p.m., indicating that the patient — who was unconscious — had fallen out of a pickup truck.
Sharpe had been helping with a community service project for the football team, the Mooresville Tribune reported.
Sharpe’s teammate, kicker Isaac Riffle, tweeted Saturday evening that the accident happened during the school’s “clean up day.”
Members of the community were invited Sunday night to a candlelight vigil to pray for Sharpe’s recovery, according to a Facebook post from Mooresville High School.
The Mooresville Tribune reported that hundreds turned up at the high school’s performing arts center, where some of Sharpe’s teammates and coaches spoke to his kindness and compassion on and off the field.
Community members also took to Facebook, where they shared posts calling for a “miracle of healing” using #GavinStrong.
That hashtag has carried over into posts of mourning, from MGSD board of education member Dr. Deborah Marsh to the rival football program at Independence High School in Charlotte.