HOPE MILLS, N.C. — A Cumberland County high school touched by tragedy is trying to bring some good from the deaths of a popular teacher and a student.
WTVD-TV reported that they are hosting a talent show to raise money for a memorial for classmate Danielle Locklear and math teacher Neil Parnell.
Pink and red ribbons are still tied to trees at South View High School. It’s a reminder students say of two people near and dear to their hearts.
For Rachel Autry, it is a performance from the heart.
“The families, they see how much people care, and they see the community come together to support them,” said Autry.
Autry is one of the students who rehearsed Wednesday for Thursday’s talent show at South View High School.
Locklear and Parnell’s tragic deaths touched everyone at the school, even those who didn’t know them.
“I think we’re strong because we can come together as a family even if we don’t know each other, like we all feel the energy together,” said student Samantha Maxwell.
In April, deputies found Locklear’s body in a river along the Cumberland-Sampson County line. Just a few weeks later, in May, Parnell was killed when his car crashed into the back of a stopped school bus near Lillington. They are both tragedies that hit students hard.
“Mostly anger and sadness,” said Autry. “That’s what I saw. I saw people getting so mad at everything that happened.”
Part of the talent show is about helping student deal with violence.
“It will be a four or five minute time where we are going to educate them on what violence is,” said Christian counselor Chris Hales. “If you are experiencing violence, people are there to listen, and talk to you, and help you.”
Organizers hope the music and talent will help the healing.
“I’m saying even though they may be gone, we won’t forget them,” said student Kayla Eubanks. “They will still be in our hearts.”
The cost of admission to Thursday’s show is $3 to help fund a memorial at the school for Locklear and Parnell. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the talent show beginning at 6:30 p.m.