Greenback School canceled Mon. in memory of senior who died

8:39 PM, Jan 23, 2011   |    comments
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According to the principal, all classes will be canceled on Monday in memory of Ryan Seymour.

The school will only be closed on Monday.

Previous story, Friday, Jan. 21: Community mourns after death of Greenback senior

A tight-knit community is reeling after the death of a popular student.

Ryan Seymour, 17, died early Friday morning, three days after an accident that also injured three of his friends.

Seymour attended Greenback High School, a K-12 school in Loudon County.  Around 650 students attend school there, and many of them counted Seymour as a close friend.

"You know, I remember one time I was just having the worst day, and he came up to me and he was just like 'Girl, you better put a smile on your face' and I was like (fake smile), and he was like 'you better give me a better smile!" said Kaylan Chaparro, a senior at Greenback.

A memorial for the football captain is now in place inside the school.   It's a picture of Seymour in his football uniform, and it's surrounded by handwritten notes from his friends and classmates.

The school is also rallying behind Seymour's family, by holding a benefit this Saturday to raise money for funeral costs.

"We're doing everything we can to make this easier on the family, and to make it easier for all of us really, and to just all come together as a community. And we can do that and we can raise money at the same time to make it better for everybody," said Ellery Budan, a Greenback senior.

The fundraiser will from 4-7 pm on Saturday January 29 at the Greenback gym.  There will be a chili dinner, silent auction, and cake walk.

Previous story

According to a THP report released Friday, Ryan Seymour died at UT Medical Center early Friday morning.

The report says the driver of the SUV, Caleb Simpson, was cited in the accident, though it's not clear what charges he may face.

Previous story: Thursday, January 20, 5:00 p.m.

Three days after a single-vehicle crash severely injured four students at Greenback High School, one of the students remains in extremely critical condition from his injuries.

Family members told 10 News that 17-year-old Ryan Seymour is in critical condition and fighting for his life at UT Medical Center as of 5:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon. 

Significant confusion has circulated about Seymour's physical condition in the last 24 hours, including several statements by community members that the Greenback High School senior died Wednesday.

Ryan Seymour served as captain of the football team at Greenback High School this season.  Seymour played on the defensive line and was also a fullback.  Prior to the 2010 season, Seymour played on the offensive and defensive lines.  After the switch to fullback, Ryan often paved the way as a lead-blocker for his younger brother, sophomore running back Richard Seymour.

"Both Ryan and his brother Richard are special players.  I've known Ryan since he was in the fifth grade." said Greenback School principal Joey Breedlove.  "Ryan is so much more than just an athlete or a football player.  You won't find any young man with as much heart.  Ryan and everyone else in the crash are compassionate young men that we are proud to have a part of our close-knit community.  Ryan is a great athlete, but a better young man."

Two other students remain hospitalized after Monday night's crash on Highway 129.  Caleb Simpson and Dyllan Roulette, both 16-years-old, are recovering from surgeries at UT Medical Center.  The fourth passenger, 15-year-old Dale Starritt, was released after the crash with some fractured bones in his arm, but no life-threatening injuries according to Breedlove.

Trooper Joseph Lindsay with the Tennessee Highway Patrol  said the crash happened when the 16-year-old driver ran off the edge of the sharp curve on the  roadway, tried to correct the vehicle, and it rolled. All four students were thrown from the vehicle.  None were wearing their seatbelts.  Lindsay said there were no drugs or alcohol involved in the incident.  The final analysis is yet to be completed, but the primary factor in the crash seems to be inexperience with the driver recently turning 16 years old in December 2010.

The shock from Monday's crash extends beyond the walls of the school and has gripped the entire community.

"Ryan's just a standout in our community and very sweet-spirited. When the community as a whole loses something this vital, especially our youth, it's devastating," said Greenback resident Corky Jackson as she worked at the Greenback Drug Store Diner.  "This diner has been so somber the last few days.  There have been a lot of hugs and a lot of tears with the children in here this week."

The community has set up a fund to help the Seymour family as the parents tend to their son.  Donations may be made to the Greenback branch of Regions Bank in the Seymour Family's name.  The bank is located at 6705 Morganton Road, Greenback, TN, 37742 and may be reached via telephone at 865-856-3018.


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