Northern High School pays tribute to two slain in separate incidents Gifted graduate and football star will be remembered 'forever'

September 27, 1997|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

More than 1,000 Northern High School students, several dressed in black T-shirts, marched solemnly onto the school football field yesterday to pay tribute to two recently slain schoolmates -- one a gifted math and science graduate, the other a football hero.

With trembling voices and tears in their eyes, several students shared stories about Maishan St. Patrick Nelson and Rocco C. Cash, whose lives were cut short in separate shootings.

"We will forever remember these two students," said student Jermal Taylor. "They were the best the future had to offer."

"Nothing has touched me like the deaths of these two young men for I, too, have a 16-year-old child, and this tragedy could have happened to him," said Dr. Alice Morgan-Brown, principal of Northern High.

Many of the students left the ceremony in tears and hugged teachers or family members after the service.

Maishan, the 1996 valedictorian at Northern High, was shot in the head Sept. 19 after he apparently got lost in Govans and turned into an alley behind the 700 block of McCabe Ave. He died the next morning. Rocco, 18, who would have been a senior this fall, was killed in a drive-by shooting in the 6500 block of Boston St. on Aug. 17. No arrests have been made in either case.

At the time of his death, Maishan, 19, was studying computer engineering at Morgan State University. His funeral will be at 10: 30 a.m. today at Payne Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in West Baltimore. A scholarship fund is being established in his memory.

Maishan was remembered yesterday as a peer leader and scholar who excelled at math and science.

"You could teach a lifetime and may not ever get a Maishan," said Pearl McCready, an adviser at Northern High who has been teaching for 29 years. "This is a child who was self-motivated, who was self-directed."

"He was the backbone of MESA," said 16-year-old Rhonda White, referring to the Math Engineering and Science Achievement club at Northern High. "He always said, 'Don't be like me, be better than me.' I'll never forget him."

And many will never forget Rocco, the starting quarterback on the Vikings, Northern High's football team.

"We pray before every game, and give him a moment of silence," said Corey Rideout, 17, the Vikings' wide receiver. "Some of the guys keep his obituary in their lockers. He should have been here with us, to share our victories. His death makes us play even harder. We dedicate every game to him."

The parents of both victims attended the service yesterday and were presented with plaques honoring their sons. But none of the family members spoke during the ceremony. Tenesha Thomas, 18, Maishan's fiancee, addressed the students on behalf of both families, encouraging them to "look to the Lord for guidance, reach beyond this school and embrace all the world has to offer."

Pub Date: 9/27/97

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