Charoscar Coleman, the principal of Central High School in Prince George’s County, hoped his words at the funeral of one of his students could motivate the rest of them to achieve their goals.
“Marckel will live on through your accomplishments,” Coleman told hundreds of mourners who gathered to remember Marckel Norman Ross, a junior who was shot and killed last week as he walked to school. “Take full advantage of your life,” he said. “Don’t take your life for granted.”
Brenda Allen, the eulogist and minister at Jericho City of Praise, offered comfort to the family and implored residents in crime-ridden neighborhoods to look after one another.
And Markies Ross said goodbye in a poem that he wrote for the brother he called “Kellz.”
“So many things I never got to say. I never imagined you’d leave us this way,” Markies Ross said as he stood above his brother’s flag-draped silver coffin. “I miss you with all my heart. I wish we never had to part. I know you’re always by my side, so now I guess this is goodbye.”
Ross — known for his infectious smile and his love of dance, modeling and making people laugh — was killed Sept. 11 during his morning commute to the school in Capitol Heights. Police have made no arrests in the case.
He is the second Prince George’s high-school student to be killed since school began last month. Amber Stanley, 17, a senior at Charles H. Flowers High School, was slain in her bedroom at her family’s Kettering home on Aug. 22. Police have said they do not think the crimes are linked.
Ross’s funeral drew about 500 attendees, including elected officials, community activists, school faculty members and hundreds of his Central High classmates.
Young men in black suits and ties wore buttons on their lapels with pictures of Ross and “Rest On Kellz” written underneath.
“He was a good guy,” said Manasseh Bailey, a freshman at Central High. “I never saw a frown on his face. We always did everything together. He was like my best friend.”
Many students from Central High participated in the program.
During the viewing, two members of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps stood at attention holding flags at each end of the casket, where Ross lay wearing his JROTC uniform.
A member of his class, Edith Rollins, sang a song. Another, Taylor Dodson, read a poem.
“My heart goes out to them,” said Board of Education member Carolyn M. Boston (District 6), who represents the area. “It’s hard on them. Not just on the family, but the entire community. . . . We have to do something about losing our kids like this. We have to come together as a community.”