Sade McGee, 13, died June 1 after a hit-and-run car accident at Central Avenue and Washington Boulevard, but her closest teachers at Horatio May Academy say the memory of the smart and hard-working student will not disappear.
Jeff Hetrick, McGee’s writing teacher for two years, saw Sade’s creative side while at May.
“It was pretty cool watching Sade this year because she tried to step out of the box from what other students were doing,” Hetrick said.
“A lot of kids think in the same path – when we’re talking about shoes all the kids are like ‘Nike, Nike, Nike,’ but Sade found this pair of running shoes that nobody’s ever heard of, and she ran with it doing a research project on that, so it was pretty cool to see her develop an out-of-the-box thinking this year.”
Sade also participated in Hetrick’s morning book-club meetings, which would turn into a “discussion of life.”
“I developed a pretty close bond with her,” he said. “It was such a fun part of the week for me.”
The most recent book Sade and the other book club students were reading was “Because of Winn Dixie.”
Hetrick hasn’t held a meeting since Sade died. “There’s a hole there.”
Sade wasn’t only a deep thinker but also a loyal student.
Her math teacher Katrina Tell said she would often come early to school and stay late.
“I had the honor of having her not only as a math student for two years, but she was in my homeroom as a fifth-grader,” she said. “We got a lot of quality time to spend with each other this year, and I’ve seen so much growth academically.”
Tell said Sade was also athletic. The school’s PE teacher posts student’s physical fitness records in the gym.
“There was her name under pull-ups,” she said. “She was in the top three. She’s everywhere around here without even seeing her.”
Tell said Sade was an asset to the school.
“I’m going to truly miss her,” Tell said. “I really loved her as a student. She will be missed.”
Denise Beckom taught reading to Sade during fifth and sixth grade.
“Sade was a very positive student,” Beckom said. “Very supportive to her teachers and her fellow classmates, very tender hearted.”
She was also a high-achieving academic student, Beckom said.
“She was our sixth-grade representative and honor roll student for 2012, and she will be missed,” she said.
Beckom recalled a specific moment when Sade lent her support.
“I coordinated the ISAT pep rally, and I ask the kids to come in early, and Sade came in early twice to help me do whatever it was that I needed to do for the pep rally,” she said. “She also stayed late to help me get things ready for the ISAT for this year.”
She was an “all around angel,” Beckom said.
May Principal Roger Lewis said Sade began attending the school when she was in third grade. Most recently, she was a member of the math club.
“Sade is one of the stars of our school,” he said. “She was beloved by all faculty and staff. Everyone loved her.”
Lewis said Sade had “the most wonderful personality.”
“Every teacher enjoyed having her in the classroom,” he said.
McGee’s funeral will be held Friday, June 8 at 12:30 p.m. at Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel, 5345 W. Madison St.