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January 7, 2013

‘Emotional Night’: Wilmington mourns young crash victim

NEW WILMINGTON — The grieving process continues for the Wilmington High School community.

Shane McQuiston, a 15-year-old sophomore at Wilmington, was killed in a single-vehicle accident late Friday evening.

It didn’t take long for those in the community to band together to honor his life. Students took to social networking sites to organize a “white out” at Saturday night’s boys basketball game at Wilmington. Students, cheerleaders and the basketball coaches wore white shirts in a sign of support. Even though the Greyhounds lost the game to visiting Lakeview, 50-36, the evening offered those in — and out of — the community a chance to come together.

“It was a very emotional night, not only for the McQuistons and all the students, but for the entire community of Wilmington,” Wilmington boys basketball coach Mike Jeckavitch said. “Fans showed the love and support they have for one another.

“It was a nice start of the healing process for the McQuiston family. There are no words to ever make it feel better, but just seeing people come together, even from communities around Wilmington, was really nice to see.”

There was some doubt the game would be played, but Wilmington’s players wanted to take the court in McQuiston’s honor, even though he did not play basketball at the school.

“We had a lot of guys who were friends with Shane. They just wanted to play for him,” Jeckavitch said. “You could tell during the game, they were very emotional. They were amped to play and play for him and support his family as well.

“The time between the junior varsity and varsity games, there were not too many dry eyes. I taught him in (industrial arts) class for two years. He was close to a lot of players and to me. Shane made everybody around him better. He was a great kid and brought up in a great way.

“Our administration did a nice job to allow the game to proceed and making grief counselors available,” Jeckavitch continued. “It really brought the whole community and student body together. I am glad I was a part of it and glad I was a part of the celebration of Shane’s life.”

While McQuiston did not play basketball, he did participate on the ’Hounds’ golf team the past two years.

“Shane was always determined,” Wilmington golf coach Jamie Canciello said. “He always seemed to look toward the positive, especially on the golf course. He was very close with his teammates.

“The tribute Saturday was wonderful. The gym was sold out and there were people standing in the hallways. It gave the kids a chance to have an outlet to talk about any feelings they were having. We were fortunate to have that. Our administration was wonderful. A lot of the teachers were there; counselors were there; a lot of students from other schools were there, too. I think that speaks volumes for the kind of person Shane was.”

McQuiston played trumpet for Wilmington’s marching band and baritone horn in the school’s concert band. He had been selected to participate in tomorrow’s Lawrence County All-Star Band Concert at Westminster College’s Orr Auditorium. Around 20 Wilmington band members will participate in the 7:30 p.m. concert and wear white ribbons to honor McQuiston.

“We’re all going to band together in school (today) and talk through ways we’d like to remember him,” Wilmington band director Jon Nickel said. “We’re going to retire his band uniform and put it on display at the school. We have a mid-winter concert at the school on Feb. 20 that we’ll dedicate in his memory as well.

 “Shane was always the center of attention. He had a very open personality and was very welcoming. He offered a lot of comic relief. He certainly loved the band.”

Nickel, too, was awed by the outpouring of support he witnessed Saturday night.

“The entire band was there,” he said. “It was definitely heartwarming seeing that. We’ll continue to honor him (tomorrow night). It’s nice they can make music in his memory.”

A Facebook tribute page for McQuiston was established last night. It generated nearly 600 “likes” in the first four hours it was online.

 

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