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Looking to the heavens

By David Vitrano
L’Observateur

LUTCHER – As the school year wound to a close, Lutcher High students and other members of the Lutcher community gathered under the sweltering midday sun recently to pay tribute to two young men who left this life too soon.
At the gathering, many wore T-shirts paying tribute to Darquell Scott and Daryell Johnson, who died in a car crash in Garyville on May 12. Johnson, 15, was a student at Lutcher High School, while Scott, 10, was a student at Lutcher Elementary. The T-shirts featured the boys’ nicknames, “Meatball” and “Juice.”
The short memorial program started with the planting of a tree in front of the school to serve as a constant reminder of the two lives cut short. Members of the St. James Parish Government Youthbuild program did the planting.
“Let it stand as a symbol of life,” said student council member Rachél Oatis during her closing words.
Then, after a few words of remembrance, yellow and purple balloons were released into the clear sky, carrying with them prayers for the two boys along with some of the grief felt by family and friends.
A prayer concluded the service as a somber crowd disbursed to ponder the meaning of the event.
Oatis said she knew Johnson and felt compelled to do something for her departed friend.
She said she once helped him get out of some trouble at school, and when he learned what she had done, he thanked her.
“I told him I had his back,” she said.
So, for one last time Oatis had Johnson’s back as she and her classmates paid tribute to their fallen friend.
Also in attendance were several members of the boys’ family. Rhyshelle Lamar, Scott’s godmother, chose to remember him as a vivacious youth.
“He was a live kid,” she said. “He enjoyed everything. Eating was his favorite sport. He always wanted nuggets.”