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HELPING GARDNER: Students Help Classmate

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It's situation that most drivers will find themselves in at one point or another. Three weeks ago, police say 18-year-old Xavier Williams was stopped behind a car that was waiting for 14-year-old Matthew Gardner to cross the street. Police say Williams chose to pass the car in front of him and in the process the former Roosevelt High School student’s car hit the current Roosevelt freshman. Gardner is still recovering at Blank Children's Hospital.

“It really could have been anyone in that situation," said Grace Bogart, a senior are Roosevelt and the president of R-Club, “Roosevelt is a very close knit community and if something happens, like something tragic, like what happened to Matthew, we all just want to come together and even if someone doesn’t know Matthew they're always asking what can we do to help.”

“It’s really sad to see one of our own students, a freshman, 2nd day of high school get hurt,” said Emina Didic, a junior and member of R-Club. Didic was the one who came with a way to help. She said she was sitting in bed one night, thinking about it, when the answer came to her. She decided to make homecoming shirts, and dedicate them to Matthew Gardner.

“And that`s exactly what she did. She went home and she designed the shirt, she brought it to me and said grace I want to do this,” said Bogart.

Didic said it took a while to nail down the detail and set things in motion. “It’s been really hectic, trying to satisfy everybody. And we`re not trying to offend Xavier with the t-shirts so we are trying to make sure that everybody is ok with it.”

With the help of the "R-Club" Roosevelt’s spirit and social club, the design and message was set: Leave sooner, drive slower, live longer.

The shirts deliver more than just a message. Each shirt costs $12.00 but $4.00 from each sale goes directly to Matthew Gardner to pay for his medical bills and any other expenses.

“I think it`s a really good thing. It brought our community a lot tighter than it used to be,” said Cazhmere Thomas, a Senior and vice president of the club.

“It just shows you that it’s not just your life out there, you really need to be responsible for your life and everyone else’s on the road,” said Bogart.

The shirts aren't just for students, anyone can buy one. Members of R-club have been using social media sites, and knocking on doors to get the word out.

So far they have reached their goal of 100 shirts ordered but welcome more.

All the kids will wear the shirts on their homecoming day October 5th.

If you want to order a t-shirt, contact Emina Didic, at 515-554-1870.