04/12/05 — Search for drowning victim continues

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Search for drowning victim continues

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 12, 2005 1:47 PM

A Spring Creek High School student who drowned over the weekend is remembered as a quiet, but friendly, athlete and member of the school's band.

It was on the band's field trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., that 16-year-old Antwan Lewis died. On Saturday afternoon, during a break in the weekend competition, Lewis went swimming in the surf with a group of friends. He reportedly went under and did not resurface. Several students attempted a rescue effort, but were unsuccessful.

School counselors and psychologists have been helping students and staff at Spring Creek deal with the sad news.

Lewis, a sophomore, transferred to Spring Creek last year from Southern Wayne High School. He quickly became involved in several activities at the school, including football, track and field, wrestling and the band, classmates say.

Senior Melissa Compeon said she had a chance to get to know Lewis when they shared a class last semester.

"He was a really quiet guy," she said, adding that he was also eager to make new friends.

"He always wanted to be a part of something," she said. "He was trying to fit in, and he did fit in very well."

Junior Mitchell Kohnen said he had not been introduced to Lewis, but learned who he was and the kind of person he was through other friends.

"As far as I could tell, he was a really nice guy," Kohnen said. "He got along with everybody really well."

This is not the first time tragedy has struck the student body at this school. In recent years, traffic accidents have claimed the lives of several students.

The school is a close-knit community, said Principal Steve Clingan, and the loss of a member of that community sends shock waves throughout the student body and faculty. He praised the way students, teachers and parents have come together to cope with the latest tragedy.

"It's a very supportive community," Clingman said, "... moreso a family atmosphere at this school than it is anything else.

"The family has nothing but our deepest sympathy and support," he said.

The atmosphere in the hallways has been somber, students said, with some still trying to absorb the shock and others openly emotional.

"From what I have noticed, most of the healing process takes place on an individual basis," Kohnen said. "Teachers have been really helpful if a student needs something, helping them adjust to the situation.

"It's all about helping the people who knew him, helping them adjust, cope with it, and remember him for the kind of person he was."

At Monday night's meeting of the county Board of Education, the Lewis family was remembered. One by one, each of the members of the school board acknowledged the loss.

"We can only imagine the suffering that they're going through,"said Lehman Smith, board chairman.

Superintendent Dr. Steve Taylor said dealing with the death of a student is one of the most difficult parts of his job.

"We don't understand these kinds of things, but certainly our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time," he said.