Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo High mourns LeShawn Smith, one of four students killed in Seminole car crash

LARGO — Sixteen year-old LeShawn Smith often worried that his teacher, Sharon Feldhake, stayed too late at school grading papers.

"Miss, you need to have a life," he would tell her.

He played hoops with Largo High schoolmate Robyn Sparrow so she could beef up her game.

And around campus, Smith was known for putting others first.

"He always made sure everyone smiled before he smiled," said longtime buddy Samantha Wood, 18.

Monday, students and teachers at Largo High were trying to cope with the loss of Smith, one of four teens who died in a Seminole crash late Friday. Seminole High students — Nathan Richardson, Joseph Ruzecki and Keith MacCollom— were also killed in the crash.

Monday morning, in Feldhake's FCAT reading class, most teens sat at their desks sobbing as Feldhake shared stories about Smith, a junior.

He wasn't there. But his memory was.

Feldhake placed a picture of Smith on the desk where he usually sat.

It was empty. The gregarious youth preferred to sit alone to focus on his studies, she said.

"Miss, I know I work better by myself," he would say.

Feldhake passed out pins she made to honor Smith. Each had a picture of a basketball, because it "meant the world to him," she said.

She handed out tissues and blotted student's faces.

Through their tears, his classmates tried to focus on the positives, the silly things he did: How he had a wardrobe of snazzy sneakers. And how he never left his desk to throw out trash. Instead, he'd toss stuff across the room using the trash bin as a basket of sorts, classmate Johnathan Loricco, 18, said.

Feldhake fought back tears of her own.

"Teachers are supposed to be strong," she said. "Teachers are supposed to have it together."

Lorri Helfand can be reached at 727-445-4155 or

Largo High mourns LeShawn Smith, one of four students killed in Seminole car crash 04/13/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season


    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium


    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater


    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company


    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.