More than 500 students, team members, school staff and family from Guyer High School gathered Monday at the iron bridge on campus to hold a prayer vigil for Nathan Maki.
The 18-year-old starting fullback on the Guyer football team was killed in a shooting incident Saturday night in a field near Bowie.
“This was orchestrated by them for a gathering place to share their emotions and decompress a little bit,” said Mario Zavala, communications coordinator for the Denton school district.
A Guyer official led the memorial with a prayer. Around the bridge, students and faculty held hands. After the prayer there were several moments of silence. Some students kept their heads bowed as others talked or held friends in tight embraces.
Zavala said the school has experienced losses before but nothing so unexpected. He said members of the counseling staff have already met and plan on being available for students and staff who need them. Beginning today, the school will have a safe room set up specifically to handle those who want to talk. Zavala said the volleyball, soccer and football teams have already held meetings in anticipation of reaching out to others in the school community.
In addition, Zavala said officials anticipate needing more counselors than they have and are ready to call on others from off campus.
“We just want to be prepared to help staff and students overcome this difficult situation,” he said.
Montague County Sheriff Paul Cunningham said an investigation into the cause of the shooting and the circumstances surrounding it is ongoing.
Following the prayer and moments of silence on the bridge, attendees moved to the practice field.
Zavala said some members of the Maki family were present as another student led a prayer. Afterward, the students offered condolences to the family and let them know they would be there for them.
Zavala said the words of the student’s prayer stuck with him afterward.
“She said it’s OK to mourn. But eventually, the family and students need to remember the impact Nate had on their lives and the positive influence he was on others,” he said.
Zavala said members of the Guyer Booster Club are going to establish an account at Northstar Bank today for anyone who wants to make a donation to help the family.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.