Reporting Brian New
DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Students at Guyer High School in Denton are wearing blue clothing and wristbands with the number 33 to class on Tuesday, to honor a classmate who died over the weekend. On Saturday, Nathan Maki was found shot to death in a pickup truck in rural Montague County.
Maki, who wore the number 33, was the starting fullback for the high school football team, and a popular student.
On Monday, hundreds of Maki’s fellow classmates met at the school for a private gathering where students shared stories and prayed. “It’s just amazing to see them all support him like that,” said Peyton Bucklew, Maki’s overwhelmed girlfriend. More than 500 students formed a circle on the high school’s football field. A special dedication for number 33 will be held on Thursday, at the school’s first home game of the season.
“The great thing about Denton and this community is we seem to always come around each other and be there for each other,” said Mario Zavala with the Denton Independent School District.
As students return to class on Tuesday, Montague County investigators will meet with the district attorney’s office. Close friends stated that Maki was shot with a rifle, in what they described as a “hunting accident.”
But it is not the investigation that Maki’s girlfriend said she is thinking about now. She is worried about walking into school for the first time without her 33. “It’s going to take a lot to walk back in that classroom and know he is not going to sit next to me again,” she said.
Staff members paid tribute to Maki in Tuesday’s morning announcements. Teachers read a statement from the principal over the intercom as a personal way for the school’s 2,100 students to grieve together.
Extra counselors are at Guyer High School on Tuesday to help mourning students. Some parents said that it was hard to see how upset the kids were over this loss. “What I’ve told her is that there are a lot of bad things that happen in this world,” said parent Matt Houlihan, “and you just got to keep going.”
“I think it speaks very highly of his character and the kind of young man that he was,” said David Hicks with the Denton ISD. “We’ve received contacts from superintendents and coaches and other teams from schools all over the Metroplex offering support.”
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