Students support deceased friend's family


But they have rallied to help make this Thanksgiving a special one for the family he leaves behind.

Most of the students at Leadership Public Schools in Richmond's rough Iron Triangle neighborhood do not have much themselves.

But, when one of their own died unexpectedly in his sleep two weeks ago the students were not about to allow his grandmother to drain her savings paying for a funeral.

"It was our blessing just to help him out because Dameyon would help us out in the same situation," said fellow student Marlin Willford.

Dameyon Robinson was just seventeen and the cause of his death is still unknown. While his death rocked the inner-city school he went to, it also gave its students a sense of purpose.

They held bake sales, collected profits from basketball games and even went to their churches and parents for donations. They raised more than $3000 to cover Dameyon's funeral expenses.

Wednesday they presented his family with an early Thanksgiving gift; Lots of food for the holiday.

"Dameyon was my friend and you know, his grandma needed help. So I decided it was the right thing to do," said another fellow student Atianna Gibbs.

Dameyon's sister Nicole Thompson was hesitant to come to Leadership. Her brother's memory is still too raw.

"That helped a great deal. This was really unexpected for our family. So it helped a great deal," she said.

Dameyon hoped to attend Duke University and play basketball.

Principal Shawn Benjamin described Dameyon as "The teddy bear, the gentle giant… Just sort of a warm, loving, caring person."

In the Iron Triangle young people see death all too often. But the students at Leadership High School have had an especially difficult time making sense of Dameyon's unexpected passing.

"Dameyon's death wasn't a violent death. And that was for them, um, strange," said teacher Gustavo Jimenez.

Leadership student Marvin Gonzales seemed to express that sentiment saying, "On Monday when I left school he was all happy. He seemed healthy. And to just hear that he passed away... It's hard to understand."

For some Dameyon's death will be even harder to forget.

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