Just a Face in the Crowd


Mallory Smith

Mauldin High School has been through a rollercoaster of emotions and over the past month, with the loss of junior Josh Meeks (Photo courtesy of Mallory Smith).

In the United States, there are roughly 15.1 million high school students. All over the country there are millions of high schoolers who get up everyday, talk to friends, and sit in class. Numbers such as these tend to make people feel small and lose their worth, but imagine the impact of losing just one of the 15.1 million students. It seems small, but in reality, the loss of one student affects thousands of others. Sixteen year old, Josh Meeks, was a junior at Mauldin High School. Meeks was an honor student who played football and ran track and field. Last month, Meeks went missing for one day and he was later found dead due to a drug related shooting.

“The school was hugely impacted by his death because many people knew him or knew of him, whether they were close to him or not, losing a classmate is traumatic. Josh was loved by a lot of people, and it was so hard for everyone. He was such a kind, smart kid,” said junior at Mauldin, Maddie Mather.

Since the loss of Meeks, the Mauldin community, and even the Greenville community, is still in mourning. Students all over Greenville County have been affected by the death of Meeks, whether or not they knew him personally. Mauldin High School has held several events to honor Meek’s life, including a balloon release.

“The students at Mauldin are trying really hard to honor Josh. For example, there was a play that went on in February in which half of the proceeds went to his family. There were also some students who painted his parking lot with his jersey number on it, and his funeral was held during the school day one day that lots of people went to,” said Mather.

Meeks’ death has shown students that the old saying, “life is short,” still holds truth. Students have realized that tomorrow is not promised and to cherish every moment you have with the people you love.

“I think losing someone is hard for people to deal with emotionally, and a tragedy like that can cause a depressive atmosphere within the school. It’s probably weird and heartbreaking to come back and not see that person in the hallway. It can just be hard to come to terms with,” said senior Gianna DeRosa.

Mallory Smith
A group of students painted Meeks’ parking spot, as a way to honor him. The parking spot features his football jersey (Photo courtesy of Mallory Smith).

Losing Meeks has also shown students the harm of getting involved in drugs, however seemingly innocent it may be. When Meeks left his house that night, he did not expect to never come back. To him, it didn’t seem as dangerous as people made it out to be, until it costed him his life. Whenever students choose to get involved in things such as drinking or drugs, it may not always end in death, but it will end with severe reparations.

“My mom has always said, ‘if you are out late, you are either up to no good or you are going to meet people who are up to no good,’ so when you mix drugs into that something is going to happen. It’s sad that Josh died that way, but there is definitely a lesson there,” said junior Anna Jernigan.

January 29th, 2019 will be a day that is engraved into the minds of people all over Greenville. The news of Meeks’ death was heartbreaking for students everywhere. His story will never be forgotten, and Mauldin High School will never be the same. Whenever students begins to feel unimportant or worthless, they need to remember Meeks’ story and how his death shattered an entire community. It is easy to forget that as people we have value and worth, but when you try to imagine life without the people around you, it’s hard to do. There are 15.1 million students, and every single one has value.