MINNEAPOLIS - The Minneapolis South High School community held a vigil for a 15-year-old student who drowned Wednesday while swimming with friends in Lake Nokomis.
Some students showed up with flowers, others had hand-written notes for the family of Sha-kym Adams. Dozens brought balloons. To celebrate his life, 15 red and white balloons were released in his honor. Red was Adams' favorite color.
At one point, grief nearly paralyzed his mother, Kim Adams, who was among the crowd of about 150. But moments after the balloon release, she made a plea with the parents and children holding vigil.
"Hug your children. Tell them you love them. And children, tell your parents you love them. Even if you have to write it down," she said. "You go home and you kiss your parents. You might have pissed them off this morning but you hug them and you kiss them. Whisper in their ear if you don't want to say it aloud … It is not that hard because I know I wish I would've said it every single day."
Adams was entering his sophomore year at Minneapolis South High School, where he was a wide receiver on the football team.
A group of students was working out in preparation for the upcoming football season Wednesday morning when they decided to go for a swim to cool off. Investigators say seven teens were attempting to swim to a floating dock when Adams started struggling and disappeared below the surface. His friends tried to locate him but were unsuccessful.
Hennepin County Deputies were able to locate Adams' body with sonar. His body was found in 15 feet of murky water.
HIs mother said the death of her son was an accident.
"And to the football teammates that are here and watching, you are not at fault. This is an accident. Please don't blame yourself," Kim Adams said. "All I love is that it was a buddy system. You swam together. Which means he did not die alone."
His father, Sharrod Rowe, echoed those sentiments. He and Kim Adams said their son knew how to swim.
"It was an accident. Was he tired or fatigued?" Rowe said. "Nine times out of 10 he probably just caught a cramp. Water will win every time."
Funeral arrangements for the teen are still pending. Anyone who would like to donate can contribute to the memorial fund bearing his name at any Wells Fargo Bank.
The South High Football Boosters have established a fund to support Sha-kym's family with funeral expenses. To learn more please visit www.gofundme.com/cpge7g