‘The kid that included everyone:’ Lubbock-Cooper dedicates bench to honor student killed in crash
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock-Cooper West Elementary honored its late student Conrad Thomlinson Tuesday afternoon, dedicating a bench to the 4th grader who was killed in a crash. The 9-year-old died in a wreck in August at the intersection of 114th and Indiana. Conrad’s mother, Joni Smith, 44, died at the hospital.
Conrad’s teachers, administrators, and classmates hosted a ceremony for his family, dedicating the bench as a way to remember Conrad and for him to forever be a part of their school. It’s on the playground on campus near 100th St. and Frankford, on the sidelines of the basketball court.
“A place where they can come and sit, or we can go and sit, or his friends, and just picture him on the court, cause that’s where he would’ve been,” Conrad’s school counselor, Paige Pierce said.
His teachers say Conrad loved basketball and his favorite team was the Los Angeles Lakers. His PE Coach Michelle Shugarek says he also loved inviting his classmates to join him on the court.
“He was super funny, easygoing, didn’t ever want to leave anyone out,” Shugarek said.
“He was very athletic but very sweet. His friends knew him as the kid that included everyone. And everyone thought that they were his best friend because that’s how he made them feel,” Pierce said.
At the bench dedication ceremony, several teachers shared their favorite memories with Conrad, noting his classmates still leave his seat saved in class. After his death, his classmates took it upon themselves to decorate his locker, leaving notes and gifts for him. Some of his family members, including his brother, saw it for the first time Tuesday.
One educator mentioned Conrad’s kindness came from his family and says the ceremony and bench dedication meant a lot to them.
“You can tell that it meant the world to them, I mean it meant so much. You know, of course, it doesn’t take the place of Conrad because we could never do that. But, they know that they’ll always be a part of West, and he’ll always be a part of West,” Shugarek said.
Lubbock Cooper West also plans to plant some trees near the bench to add to Conrad’s memorial.
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