Students honor Peters, GreulichNovember 9, 2019
By COREY STOLZENBACH
LINCOLN CITY — Southridge and Heritage Hills had another chapter in the rivalry on the football field Friday night, but area schools came together put all rivalries aside for a somber occasion prior to the game.
Dozens of students from different schools gathered around in a prayer circle out in the chilly weather by the gate outside the Jungle to honor 16-year old Forest Park junior Anderson Peters, who died during the first wrestling practice of the year Monday from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and 25-year old Hunter Greulich, a 2013 Heritage Hills graduate and former Patriots football player who was killed in a collision Thursday night.
“Even though we are at a competition, we can have community over that competition,” said Southridge senior Paige Kendall of the Southridge Spirit Club.
Southridge senior Alexis Brady came up with the idea for the Peters tribute. Students in the area who did and did not know him joined in. She said a lot of people were surprised that this came about, but added people were happy to participate.
“I just thought it would be a good thing because we were already inviting all the schools and when we heard that he passed, we decided that it would be a good idea to pray for his family,” Brady said.
Those who went to school with Peters described him as somebody who had a big smile. Forest Park junior Olivia Englert said Peters was genuine and she consistently saw him in the hallways at school. Engert added Peters always had a smile on his face and looked happy to be where he was at.
A visibly emotional Forest Park junior Kelsey Mehling had Peters in her geometry class. She shared a memory that she had of the late student.
“Every day, he would never come in with a pencil,” Mehling said. “He would always rely on somebody to bring him a pencil, but he always ended up giving it back, and that was just a big thing for me.”
Mehling said many went to Peters’ visitation at Becher Funeral Home. She added there were people who held on to one another and cried together.
“It’s so welcoming and calming to know other schools are going to have your back through these times,” she said. “Even though we have our ups and downs with the other schools, it just warms my heart to know other people are going to be here with you through these tough times.”
Englert said the tribute gave her comfort in knowing Peters was in a better place and that he’s no longer suffering. Sophomore Trista Barnes said Anderson’s passing left for a rough week at school, and she’s hoping there will be some peace after Friday.
Southridge senior Anna Altstadt said the Peters family had a tough time paying for the funeral. So, Forest Park junior Simon Jacob organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe.com to help pay for Peters’ funeral and give to the family. The fundraiser page listed 210 donors Friday night. The fund raised $7,580 as of Friday evening, eclipsing the goal of $5,000.
Kendall led the way during the tribute, as everyone formed a circle and held hands to remember the losses of Peters and Greulich. She said her own prayer before delving into the Lord’s Prayer.
“We pray for their souls and for their families in this time of need,” Kendall said in her prayer. “For all those mourning and hurting, we hope we can give them support and love.”
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