Students remember classmate with tree planting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2000

A solemn crowd of Natchez Middle students paid tribute to their deceased classmate, Eric Singleton, Tuesday with a special service.

Not a word was spoken as the entire student body gathered on school grounds to plant a tree in Eric’s honor.

Singleton, 15, drowned Sunday March 12, while fishing in a pond near Lagrange Subdivision. He fell out of a small fishing boat and was unable to swim to shore.

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&uot;I’m certain that even though Eric is not here in body, in spirit I am sure, he is still here with us,&uot; said Principal Larry Jackson. &uot;We do not want Eric’s death to be in vain.&uot;

Jackson encouraged the students to imitate Eric’s good manners and his neat dress.

&uot;He was a good man, and that’s what I want you to remember,&uot; he said. &uot;He was a good man.&uot;

Eric has been described as an all-around good student who was involved in many school activities. He played the tuba in the band and was also a member of the football, basketball and track teams.

The school decided to have a tree planting service to commemorate Eric’s life and to encourage the students. &uot;We’re so glad we had all of the students take a part in this,&uot; said Principal Linda McMurtry.

Several members of Eric’s family attended the service.

Eric’s aunt Sandra Washington said many positive things have risen out of the tragedy.

&uot;The service today was like a beginning to us,&uot; she said. &uot;Something positive was getting ready to explode.&uot;

The community has really rallied around her family, she added.

Eric’s mother, Dietrich Singleton, said she had been encouraged by the students’ support.

&uot;These kids — I just don’t have words. I’m speechless,&uot; she said.

The students raised more than $800 to contribute to the family’s funeral expenses, Jackson said.

Dietrich said she is also comforted by the life Eric led.

&uot;I thank the Lord (Eric) left a good record,&uot; Dietrich said. &uot;(I’m) just so thankful and grateful, I raised a child like that.&uot;