The Shawnee Mission East High School community is mourning the death of one of its students.
Senior Tyler R. Rathbun, of Westwood, died early Sunday morning in an ATV accident in rural Miami County, Kan. He was just weeks shy of his 18th birthday.
Rathbun was a star soccer player at Shawnee Mission East. He was named the all-state MVP of the Sunflower League, and broke several school records for soccer, according to Principal Karl Krawitz.
Family, friends and classmates wore blue and black to school in honor of their classmate Monday. They've also started a hash tag on twitter to share memories at #RIPTR .
Shawnee Mission East Soccer Coach Jamie Kelly announced he will retire Rathbun's number 14 jersey and dedicate a game to him in the fall.
"Tyler, we love you and miss you,” Kelly tweeted. “you are an amazing soccer player and a great kid. The SME community mourns the loss of one of the greats."
"He was so humble, energetic, never bragged about anything," Kelly told 41 Action News. He didn't even brag about the record-breaking 22 goals he scored this season. He shattered the goal held for years by none other than Coach Kelly. Kelly had coached Rathbun since age 9. "He wouldn't even brag about breaking the record, almost like he was embarrassed because I had coached him so long," laughed Kelly.
Kelly walked the halls with his soccer team today. They all walked Tyler's schedule together and sat in his classes, talking about the MVP and team player they would dearly miss. For his soccer mentor and long-time friend, it was difficult at times for Kelly to be the rock for the team. He could hardly get out the words, "I knew I had to be there for them."
"We will all remember him for who he was,” Krawitz said. “A great all-around individual; great person, great athlete and you couldn't ask for a better student."
Krawitz said Rathbun had several friends in the school and was constantly looking out for the foreign exchange students and underclassmen.
Fellow student Adam Lowe writes, "Life isn't fair. My high school experience truly would not have been the same without you, Tyler."
The school has asked a dozen professional grief counselors to help speak with students this week. Krawitz said several of the students have asked for help in dealing with the grief. He added that he expects several students will ask for guidance, as Rathbun touched many lives during his time at the school.
The organization Young Life Shawnee Mission is also offering support to students.
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