A Lee’s Summit North High School student that died inside a school bathroom last week was remembered as a hardworking, no-nonsense teen with a captivating smile during a vigil to honor the girl’s memory.
Seventeen-year-old Gemesha Thomas died Sept. 29 after she apparently shot herself while inside the school.
Thomas, a senior, was found in a second floor bathroom after other students reported hearing a single gun shot. She died at a hospital a short time later.
On Friday hundreds lined the grassy median of a Lee’s Summit apartment complex to remember Thomas. The group held a moment of silence, circled for prayer, recalled their favorite memories of Thomas, lit candles and released balloons.
Classmate Trevar Walton, 17, said Thomas was straight-forward, blunt and spoke her mind, traits that belied what friends called a “contagious” smile.
Thomas held two jobs, Walton said. The two worked together at a Lee’s Summit fast food restaurant.
“She didn’t really affiliate with a lot of people but the people she did deal with she cared about them,” Walton said. “She made sure everyone she was friends with did right. She was blunt, but warmhearted.”
Another classmate, seventeen-year-old Anthony George, remembered Thomas’ infectious smile.
“She was amazing,” George said. “She really was. She could always put a smile on your face. Her smile was contagious.”
Thomas’ mother, LaToya, spoke briefly. She said Gemesha struggled with depression, a condition that got the best of Gemesha last week.
“She was tired,” LaToya said.
Backed by family members and a group representing a suicide prevention organization, LaToya made a passionate plea to others that may suffer from depression to speak out and seek help.
“Talk to somebody,” she said. “Get help. Please.”
A memorial service for Thomas is Saturday at Duane Harvey Funeral Home, 9100 Blue Ridge Blvd. in Kansas City.
Visitation is from 2 to 3:30 p.m. with time for reflection beginning at 3:35 p.m.