Daniel mourns student’s death

Daniel High School student Matthew Robinson, 16, was killed in a single-car accident last week near Central.

By Greg Oliver
Courtesy The Journal

CENTRAL — The Daniel High School community is remembering Matthew Robinson as an excellent student who loved being a part of the school’s marching band.

Robinson, 16, of Central, was killed last week in a single-car collision on Brookbend Road at Maw Bridge Road near Central, Pickens County coroner Kandy Kelley said. His sister, who was the only passenger, was injured but is expected to survive.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Gary Miller said the crash occurred around 3:20 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19, on Brookbend Road about 3.5 miles north of Central.

Miller said Robinson was driving a four-door Dodge north on Brookbend when it ran off the right side of the road and struck a tree. The road was blocked near Maw Bridge Road.

Daniel High School principal Josh Young called Robinson “a great kid.”

“He was an honors student and well liked by his teachers and peers,” Young said. “Marching band was definitely a passion of his, and you can certainly tell the impact that he had on his fellow band members by their reactions today.”

Band director Nathan Whitworth agreed, adding Robinson was not only a great honors student and musician — he was also a member of the Carolina Youth Symphony — but he was also an outstanding person.

“Matthew was the type of young man who was always friendly and kind to other students,” Whitworth said. “He would hold doors for others, put away chairs that were left out and always volunteer when he was needed. He is going to be sorely missed in our band family.”

School District of Pickens County superintendent Danny Merck, who was principal at the school during Robinson’s freshman year, remembered him as someone who got along with others.

“He was well liked by everyone,” Merck said. “He was a quiet student who loved being in the band.”

Merck added Robinson was blessed with a great family, adding, “Their love and support for Matthew was obvious.”

“We are devastated by this tragedy,” he said.

Jon Parker, who had Robinson as a student in his Java programming computer class, said Robinson was also known for his academic prowess.

“This class was a pretty high level, and it was a challenging class for the students and me,” Parker said. “Matthew was always patient and worked real hard to complete the projects despite them being complicated. I remember Matthew and three other guys that used to all sit close to each other and work on computer coding together. He was just part of their little group, and they just loved working on the computer together, whether that was programming or the few times I allowed them to play games.”

Parker said the best word he could use to describe Robinson was “servant,” because he was “just a giving young person who always put others first.”

The teacher said Robinson also had a lot of friends and was well liked by those around him.

In fact, the teacher said students told him they felt Robinson was “very calm and collected” and “easy to get along with,” to the point where it was the other person’s fault if they didn’t get along with him. Students also said Robinson had a great sense of humor, with the ability to tell any joke “with a straight face.”

Parker remembers attending Daniel football games and seeing Robinson with the band.

“Matthew would wave and smile at me as he played the trumpet and cheered on the Daniel Lions,” Parker said.

With the school year winding down, Parker said it’s going to be tough knowing Robinson will no longer be in his class.

“You’ve been with this young person all year who is so close to the end of school and looking forward to their summer,” he said. “We just finished up major exams, and it was smooth sailing from here. Matthew had a solid A in my class, so I would only have seen him a few more classes.”

Instead, Parker said he had to make a different mark in his grade book due to Robinson’s untimely passing.

“As a teacher, when a student is no longer in your class, you have to mark them in the grade book as withdrawn,” Parker said. “I have done that many times with students who have transferred to other schools, but to mark a student as withdrawn due to death really impacted me (Wednesday).

“Our sympathy and prayers go out to his family and sister, and we’re also praying for his sister’s recovery.”

School district spokesman John Eby said a moment of silence was held Wednesday morning in memory of Robinson, and grief counselors were also on hand to assist students dealing with the tragedy.

On Thursday, Eby said there were no additional counselors on hand, but three qualified school counselors are on staff that can help.

“They are well prepared to help students who are grieving,” Eby said.