Shonda Green, 17, Western High School student

September 16, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

In the words of Shonda Green, she "really had it going on." Only 17, she had her career plotted: work as a fashion designer for a few years and later get into computer programming.

She was focused, outgoing, confident and smart -- she scored more than 1,300 on her PSAT, the SAT pretest, last year, her junior year at Western High School. She was creative and wanted to become the "next Versace."

On Friday, Shonda died at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center from injuries suffered Aug. 27 in a fire at a friend's house in Woodlawn. She had been hospitalized since then. Shonda, who lived in East Baltimore, had gone to the house the night before and was going to baby-sit children there the next day. Fire officials believe the fire was caused by children playing with matches. Four other people suffered minor injuries.

Relatives said Shonda wanted to attend school in New York, possibly New York University, to study computer information systems, while also attending classes at Rose College for

fashion design.

"There was nothing that she didn't think that she couldn't do," said a sister, Melkia Green of Baltimore. "She wanted to be the next Versace. She'd see his [fashions] and say she could do it better."

At Western, Shonda maintained a 3.1 grade point average and seemed to breeze through schoolwork while others struggled. For instance, after missing a day or two of school, she'd score high marks on tests.

"She was as complex as an adolescent could be," said Barbara Golaski, a school guidance counselor. "She had a lot of natural intelligence there. She had the ability to make you laugh and make you shake your head at the same time."

Shonda received scholarship offers from several schools, including Spellman College, Clark College, Northwestern University, and the Eastern Shore and College Park campuses of the University of Maryland.

Her mother, Rachelle Green of Baltimore, said Shonda would find clothes and try to make them adapt to her style.

"I was the seamstress and she the designer," Mrs. Green said. "She knew what she wanted and told me how to do it."

Stephanie Triantos, assistant principal at Western, said Shonda came to her office frequently to talk. "She was a bright young woman with a wonderful spirit," Ms. Triantos said. "I'd feel inspired when she'd leave me."

Ms. Triantos said she last saw Shonda in June.

"I hugged her and told her be safe and have a good summer," she said. "Then I watched as she walked away."

Shonda was a member at El-Bethel Prayer Tabernacle. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Also surviving are her father, Willie Lee Green; a brother, Nathan Green; and three other sisters, Leechelle Green, Tyra Green and FTC Adonus Green, all of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 9/16/97

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