Students, loved ones mourn Treyvon Mays, 17, who drowned in Shawnee pond

Vigil held for drowning victim Treyvon Mays

Friends and family members held a vigil for a Shawnee Mission Northwest senior who drowned in a small lake.
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Friends and family members held a vigil for a Shawnee Mission Northwest senior who drowned in a small lake.

A memorial fund has been set up for the family of 17-year-old Treyvon Mays, who drowned in a Shawnee pond on Tuesday night.

The fund is set up at Country Club Bank, 21911 W. 66th St. in Shawnee, to help pay for funeral arrangements. Donations also will be taken at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. Checks should be made out to the Treyvon Mays Memorial Fund.

More than 100 fellow high school students, friends and family members gathered Wednesday evening at a Lakeview Estates pond where Mays drowned the night before.

Mays drowned while swimming in the small lake near Johnson Drive and Widmer Road, according to police. He was a Shawnee Mission Northwest High School senior and lived in Shawnee. Fire department crews and a dive team from Overland Park recovered Mays’ body after he was reported missing on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, at a vigil organized at the edge of the water, friends told of Mays’ kindness to strangers, his passion for life and, above all, his smile.

“He was funny, caring,” said Michael Chavez, who had been friends with Mays since their freshman year. “He cared about people even if he didn’t know your name.”

Another classmate who knew Mays only briefly said she experienced that firsthand. When Anna Beck was being bullied in a school hallway, she remembers Mays intervening, shooing away the bullies and walking her to class. They didn’t know each other.

“He said, ‘If anyone tries to hurt you, you let me know,’ ” Beck recalled.

When Mays died Tuesday night, he had reportedly been swimming with a friend. The friend lost track of Mays and wasn’t sure whether he had gone up to a house or was still in the water.

Mays was reported missing about 8:30 p.m., said Shawnee Fire Marshal Corey Sands. About 10 p.m., a dive team arrived from Overland Park to search under the water. Soon after, crews reported they had recovered his body.

At the vigil, George Johnson, pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church, led the group in releasing balloons in memory of Mays. Johnson remarked on the large number of people attending. So many tried to join the mourners on a small pavilion on the water that police intervened to keep the crowd from tipping the platform over.

“I had no idea he was so loved,” Johnson said. “Look at all the people who showed up.”

Mays’ cousin, Precious Swygert, said the family was reeling from the teenager’s death.

“It’s horrible. It’s like a nightmare,” she said. “He was a wonderful man.”

“It hurts,” she said.

According to a high school football website, Mays played cornerback on his high school varsity team and wore number 9.

On Wednesday, the school football team Twitter account tweeted the following:

Others shared tributes to Mays on Twitter:

The Shawnee Mission School District released a statement on Wednesday morning.

“Treyvon was a vibrant part of our school community and will be missed by the many friends and staff who knew and worked with him,” it read. “Our counselors have been providing support this morning and will continue to serve our staff and students as needed.”

Arrangements for memorial services have not yet been finalized, according to the release.

Katy Bergen: 816-234-4120, @KatyBergen