EHS mourns Smith’s death

EASLEY — Friday morning, Easley High School staff was notified of the death of 15-year-old Daniel Smith, a 9th-grade student.
Students and teachers were notified, and grief counselors were made available to students and staff.
Smith, a multi-sport athlete at Easley, had competed in a JV football game against Seneca High School Thursday night before being killed, along with his mother, by his stepfather in an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said.
“Please remember the EHS family as we deal with the tragic death of one of our student athletes,” EHS principal Tim Mullis said. “The loss of life is always tough, but it is extremely difficult when it involves a young person. Daniel will be missed in the classroom and on the playing fields.”
“Daniel was, as we say on the field, ‘wide open.’ Everything that he did he did with complete excitement and energy, always trying to do his best,” EHS JV football coach Andrew Appenheimer said. “He made an immediate impression by holding himself to a very high standard on the field. Daniel will be missed, and I think the best way we can honor him is by holding ourselves to the same high standard he set for himself.”
In addition to playing football, Smith was a member of the wrestling team.
““Daniel Smith was a person high on life,” EHS head wrestling coach Jeff Harris said. “He was the kid that always made people laugh.  Daniel wrestled last year in 8th grade and had potential to be in the varsity line up this year as a freshman.  Daniel was a hard worker, a good kid and always listened.”
Teachers remembered Smith for always coming to class with a smile and said he stood out from the crowd because of his friendliness.
At Friday night’s varsity football game at Seneca, the happenings of the previous night cast a shadow over the Easley crowd.
Many fans wore jerseys with the number 51 — Smith’s football number. Many had messages printed on them.
“RIP Daniel. U Will B Missed,” one shirt read.
Before the game, both the Easley and Seneca varsity squads gathered on the field for a moment of silence.
Easley coach Chad Smith joined in mourning the loss of a player, but stopped short of dedicating the game to Daniel’s memory.
“I’ve never been one to dedicate a game to somebody because I feel that just cheapens everything,” Smith said. “If we win, it will not make his death any easier for us to deal with. Hopefully if we lost, it would not make that situation any harder to deal with. That young man’s life was more important than any ballgame.”
Funeral services for Daniel Smith and his mother were conducted Monday at Marathon Community Church in Powdersville. Burial was in Hillcrest Memorial Gardens.
At press time, plans for a memorial or vigil in Daniel’s honor have not yet been made by the school. If and when a public event is planned, the school district will notify the media.