Talent show lifts up Cumberland Co. school after tragedies - WNCN: News, Weather

Talent show lifts up Cumberland Co. school after tragedies

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HOPE MILLS, N.C. -

South View High School hosted a special talent show Thursday night that was aimed at honoring two lives lost this school year.

It was a night of fun - a way to honor student Danielle Locklear and teacher Neil Parnell in a joyful instead of a mournful way. Locklear was killed in March, and her ex-boyfriend is charged in her murder. Parnell died in a car crash earlier this month.

"Just to see the love that these students had for him, it's just hard to put into words," said Parnell’s brother, Bradley.

Parnell's family and Locklear's family were at the event to show their appreciation and to just enjoy the show.

"I know if Dannie was here she would just have one word - 'awesome.' She loved this. This was her thing to do, and we all want to thank everyone,” said Locklear’s grandmother, Kelly Heegel. “We had such a good time tonight."

"I'm just so excited about everything this evening, and it was really uplifting for our family," added Locklear’s mother, Rowna Fowler.

Locklear’s aunt, Chena Papa, said it was nice to think of her niece in a setting with lots of support and smiles.

"It still, hurts so we need moments like this to keep us going," Papa said.

The school's Christian student club called “RUSH” (Reaching the Unreached Student Harvest) organized the show. After hosting a prayer meeting following Locklear's death and also after Parnell's death, the students wanted to show that a tribute doesn't have to be somber.

Not only did the families enjoy the show and the signs of support, they also felt the honor that their loved ones have not been forgotten.

"It sounds like Miss Locklear and my son have made a long lasting impact, and that's great to know," said Parnell’s mother, Debbie.

The event raised more than $1,300. More donations are expected. Some of that money will pay for permanent memorials at the school. The rest will go to the Fayetteville Dream Center and a program to help underprivileged students.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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