Community comes together to remember Lee's Summit North student - KCTV5

Community comes together to remember Lee's Summit North student

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Students put up a display along the fence to Bronco Stadium that said “#NorthStrong.” (KCTV) Students put up a display along the fence to Bronco Stadium that said “#NorthStrong.” (KCTV)
LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -

One day after tragedy struck at Lee’s Summit North, the community came together with heavy hearts to remember a student who took her life on Friday.

Students, faculty, and families at Lee's Summit North are hurting.

On Friday night, the district postponed a football game until Saturday afternoon and held a candlelight ceremony.

Students put up a display along the fence to Bronco Stadium that said “#NorthStrong.”

Many wore purple on Saturday, the color of suicide prevention awareness, to mark National Suicide Prevention Month. They also released balloons and held a moment of silence for 17-year-old Gemesha A. Thomas before Saturday’s game.

They want Thomas' family to know that they support them. 

One mother who said she knows Thomas’ family well said she has appreciated the school's handling of this tragedy and that the family needs prayers and support right now.

"It's a very hard thing to accept," Nichole Kolstad said. "We just appreciate all the prayers we can get for that family right now in this hard time."

Nichole Kolstad said Thomas lived just down the street from her and that her son grew up playing with Thomas. 

Her son and other students wanted to be together on Saturday as a school. 

"I appreciated that they moved the game back because of how everyone was feeling yesterday, and then today we could come out and have balloons and just talk," said Nicholas Mori.

Kolstad wants students to know they are loved and supported. She also wants them to know that she and other parents are here to help. 

“Love everyone," Kolstad said. "Your friends and your neighbors. If you feel like someone's struggling, reach a hand out.”

Parents have appreciated the way Lee's Summit has allowed students to grieve. 

Angela Holt's daughter is a cheerleader at Lee's Summit North.

"I'm very proud of this school," Holt said. "The students felt safe. The way they handled it was just amazing."

On Saturday, a rival Blue Springs Squad crossed the field to take a picture with them to show their support. 

"I think it's showing that it's bigger than a rivalry or a football game," Holt said.

A GoFundMe that was set up for Thomas’ family has raised more than $18,000.

A spokesperson for Thomas’ family told KCTV5 News off-camera that the high school student had been depressed for several years and receiving treatment.

Some students are planning another vigil and ceremony for this coming Friday night.

If you are struggling, The Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255. The lifeline offers free and confidential emotional support. It is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year around. Those in need can also chat live with a counselor by visiting suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Previous coverage:

Lee’s Summit North student dies at hospital after shooting self at school

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