GOSNELL, AR (KAIT) – Gosnell High School students moved quickly to support a family in need after a classmate's unexpected death Tuesday.
Gosnell High School senior Layne King said after learning that her 17-year-old next door neighbor Beau "Gatewood" Branscum committed suicide Tuesday night, she and other students wanted to do anything they could to help his family.
"We stood on the side of the road with buckets and signs and just took donations of whatever people would give, and the junior class took a picture and each signed around it, framed it and gave it to Beau's grandmother," King said. "We just felt like we needed to do our part because they were part of the community and school and he was a good friend to everyone."
Students collected about $6, 100 to help cover funeral expenses. Kim Trump, a friend of Beau's family, and Gosnell Public Schools Superintendent Bonard Mace are proud of the students' efforts.
"They held their signs and showed their love for Beau and his family and had a wonderful response from our community," said Trump.
Beau moved to Gosnell from Paragould and lived with his grandmother. King said his seemingly fun-loving personality did not show any signs of trouble.
"He was really funny and outgoing. He didn't have a problem talking to people. He sold Poptarts out of his locker to students. He was just like a class clown kind of," she said. "He was always really happy at school and I never knew anything was wrong when we talked and stuff. He just seemed fine."
Counselors were available on the GPS campus Wednesday to help students sort out their feelings.
"We had area counselors that came in. I think there was 25 counselors that were on campus the entire day. Some (students) talked amongst theirselves, some played musical instruments and I think that we just started the process of the healing," said Supt. Mace. "We just told the students that if you ever have any issues, feel free to contact the counselors, another student, a teacher, anybody, a parent. Let them know that there's problems in your life because we can all work through our issues and problems."
Beau's visitation is Saturday, April 27, at Cobb Funeral Home in Blytheville from 9 to 10 a.m., followed by a graveside service at Elmwood Cemetery at 10:30.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, send memorials to the Blytheville Animal Shelter or a charity.
Condolences can be left online at cobbfuneralhome.com.