Hundreds showed up Saturday afternoon to pay their respects for Nicolas Jackson II, the .
The service was held at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church at 1 p.m. and lasted for approximately two hours. In addition to friends and family who attended, the faculty, football team and cheerleading team, and members of the community also showed their support.
"He was my best friend," said Garrick Glaudin, a freshman at Norcross High who played receiver on the football team, the same position as Jackson. "He was a really good guy. I shared a locker next to him, so we would always joke and play around all the time. He was never mad. He was a good student and got good grades. There's nothing bad I could say about him. It's just going to be a long year and a long season without him."
Jackson, whom many called "Nick-Nick" throughout the service, attended Hopewell Christian Academy from sixth grade to eighth grade. He graduated as valedictorian in his class before transferring to Norcross High School.
Bishop William Sheals of Hopewell led the service with opening remarks and an opening prayer. Those who spoke in reflection included: his mother, Shameka Render; Norcross High ninth grade football Coach Chris Hall; Dr. Burrell Pope and Dr. Sheldon Bethea, both of Hopewell Christian Academy; and Alabama State University Head Coach Reggie Barlow.
They all praised Jackson for being an amazing person and model student, despite his short life of 15 years. Coach Hall talked about how Jackson tutored his peers on math when no one else would and how he never missed a workout for football; Bethea, his eigth-grade teacher, reminisced on how Jackson was his first student to receive a perfect score on the science part of standardized testing; and Pope remembered how Jackson supported the students and went to the football games at the academy even after he graduated.
"He had a love for people, and that's what stood out about Nicholas," said Pope.
He explained that Nicholas influenced almost everyone around him. "Even the high school students. Nick gave them an impact. And one thing I love about Nicholas ... [is] he would smile all the time, and that smile was all the way across his face."
Two announcements were made during their reflections. Bethea at Hopewell said the school now has the Nicholas Jackson Award, which will be awarded to one deserving student every year, and Coach Barlow of Alabama State offered Jackson a spot on the Alabama team, something Jackson wanted to accomplish once he graduated high school.
"We want to make Nick-Nick a member of the 2012 football team," said Barlow, presenting a jersey with Nick's name on it.
Marlo Moore, Latoya Hicks, Antonio Dye and Keisha Collins supplied the music selections, with a strong choir of a few dozen members in tow. Pastor A.D. Jewell and Minister Shonretia Hines spoke from the Old and New Testaments, and Bishop Dreyus Smith finished the service with the eulogy.