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Students and teachers at King George High School raise money in memory of a former student and to honor his mother, a beloved school secretary
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By CATHY DYSON
At first, no one could really tell when D.J. Minter had lapsed into heart failure.
"His spirits were always so good," his mother, Laura, said. "He kept right on smiling."
Students and teachers at King George High School remembered D.J. Minter's friendly and likable nature on Wednesday. A group gathered to present a $1,300 check to the American Heart Association in memory of the King George graduate.
Representatives from every club and group in the school make up the student leadership council, and that council decided to raise money in Minter's name during February, which is heart month.
Tiffany Clements, a youth market director with the American Heart Association, accepted the check. She works with schools from Winchester to Caroline County and said King George was the first high school to make a memorial donation in a student's name.
Douglas Wayne Minter Jr. was 28 when he died May 29, 2011. He was a familiar face around the school, where his mother is an administrative assistant in the front office.
After he graduated in 2002, he regularly came to work with his mother. When his condition started to deteriorate in summer 2010, people in school saw the agony Laura Minter was experiencing--and suffered with her.
"She's such a big part of the school, and we all felt her loss," said Dee Strauss, who advises the student leadership council. "The 'mother' commitment she showed was overwhelming to the kids--they felt her pain."
No one had to persuade students to take part in activities to honor her son, said Tahir Ahmad, the council president.
People wore so much crimson, ruby and rose on Feb. 3 during "Wear Red Friday" that it "looked like an ocean of red," Laura Minter said.
Classes had contests to see which could collect the most coins. Students sought donations, gave away red apples and guessed the number of heart-shaped candies in a jar.
The Student Council Association, which Tahir also leads, planted 10 crape myrtle trees around the parking lot in Minter's memory--and to honor his mother.
"She's the one person in school everybody goes to, not just for help, but to talk to about anything," Tahir said. "Everybody loves her so much."