The students of Starkville High School have taken to Twitter to remember their friend and classmate.
Shortly after Devin Mitchell’s death on New Year’s Day, the hashtag “#32forever” — representing the high school football player’s number — began appearing on the social networking site.
Mitchell was murdered in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day while he was visiting family in West Point. Police officials said Tavaris Collins, 31, of West Point allegedly started shooting into the dark when he heard the sounds of fireworks and thought someone was shooting at him. Collins fired multiple rounds and one struck Mitchell in the head. Mitchell was pronounced dead at North Mississippi Medical Center. Collins was arrested and charged with murder.
Hashtags are used on Twitter as a way to find what people are saying about a particular topic. If enough people send out tweets with the same hashtag, that topic will start to “trend” on Twitter.
Friends, classmates and teammates used Twitter to share memories, pictures, videos and prayers for Mitchell and his family. Many of the students said they would remember the sound of his laugh, while others vowed to live their lives the way he lived his.
“People have been using the hashtag for important information like funeral times, meeting arrangements for the football team or the class of 2013 and #32forever merchandise. Other people would tweet a meaningful quote, Bible verse or memory under the same hashtag, while others have adopted the hashtag as a daily thing,” Merve Karan, SHS Jacket Buzz news editor, said. “People have also tweeted that this tragedy has really brought Starkville High School together as a family.”
The junior class at SHS used Twitter to spread the word about an independent class meeting held last Wednesday. The students discussed selling different items to commemorate Mitchell, including bracelets inscribed with “32 Forever.” Proceeds from those sales will go to Mitchell’s family.
Mitchell’s funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Calvary Church on Jackson Street.
The following is a small sample of the hundreds of “#32forever” tweets:
“@itsonly1Arolyn: Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean i’ll miss you, until we meet again. #32FOREVER”
“@mbartlett42: Devin, I love you bro. Glad you’re in a better place. I hope you watch over me the rest of my life. #32Forever”
“@CarolinaSummer: Devin, you will always be in my heart! There isn’t one bad thing that could ever be spoken about you, you were a great person! #32forever”
“@iamLeahYazzy: Hey Dev, I miss you!! So thankful that I got the chance to know such a wonderful person. I don’t wanna be sad anymore... #32forever”
“@_TierraLaShae: I think this tragedy has brought everybody together now .. #32forever”
“@Halie_Michelle7: New Years Resolution: Be as good as a person as Devin was and still is in Heaven! #32forever”
“@CoxyPooh: I just pray that God gives me strength to live my life the way he did. That’s my goal in life now. #32forever”
“@HDay16: Playing for #32forever this season”
“@Murrr_Kate: Devin was an extraordinary guy and I’m honored to have known him. The class of 2013 will never be the same without him. #32forever”
“@_AliciaBrianna_: Starkville High really won’t be the same. But we’ve gotta get through this. He wouldn’t want us like this. Another angel gained. #32forever!”
“@Mode_de_Coco: I think SHS could honestly be one big family. This should strengthen and pull us closer to one another. #32Forever #32Forever”
“@colbyrunnels_3: I know everything happens for a reason, I just can’t accept that right now. I’m hurting. #32Forever I love you and your family.”
“@alvaropichardo9: Still can’t believe Devin is gone. I saw him last week running at the track looking so happy and smiling like always. #32forever love you D.”
“@littlelauren501: I love you, Devin. Fly high, fly fast, and sting hard. #32forever #jacketnation
“@ethanmusser: It’s a shame we don’t tell people how much we love them and how much they mean to us until they’re gone... #32Forever”
“@Big_Meech_68W: It’s hard when someone so great is taken from a world that he made a better place everyday with a simple smile. #32forever Be good up there.”