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Harrison Hoyas Mourn the Loss of One of Their Own

2/16/06

     The story at the bottom of this page appeared in today's Atlanta-Journal Constitution regarding Luke Abbate, a junior lacrosse player at Harrison High School.  Abbate died Tuesday night from injuries sustained in a car accident that took place as he and four teammates were going home from lacrosse practice on Monday.  In lieu of flowers, the Abbate family has asked that donations be made to the Luke Abbate Memorial Scholarship Fund in care of the following address:

     Northwest Bank and Trust

     3891 Cobb Parkway

     Acworth, GA    30101

Any letters and notes sent to the bank with donations will be forwarded to the Abbate Family. 

     The visitation will be held Friday, February 17th from 1:00 PM until 8:00 PM at Carmichael Funeral Home on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta.  The funeral will be Sunday, February 18th at 1:00 PM at the West Ridge Church on Highway 92 in Dallas, GA. 

 

Copied and pasted from the AJC ...

Harrison schoolmates remember wreck victim

By DON PLUMMER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/16/06

Students at west Cobb County's Harrison High are planning to gather this morning to remember a student killed this week in a single-car crash, which also injured four of his fellow lacrosse players.  Harrison junior Luke Abbate died Tuesday at an Atlanta hospital, police and school officials said.  The other Harrison students - Zack Barrett, Mitchell Steele, Brandon Lane, Travis Schmidt - were injured in the Monday evening crash near Powder Springs, and all but Barrett remain hospitalized, family members and coaches said.

"There will be an opportunity for students to get together before school for a chance to share feelings and memories of the student," Cobb schools spokesman Jay Dillon said.  "The principal will allow students to leave items commemorating the student's life at the school flagpole."

Abbate, 15, was a passenger in the car. No charges had been filed in the accident as of Wednesday afternoon, police spokesman Dana Pierce said.  "Our traffic investigators are still working at the scene to reconstruct the crash," Pierce said. 

The crash occurred at 7 p.m. Monday on Crew Lane near Trail Drive in Powder Springs.

Today's student gathering, which is not open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 7:15 a.m. in the school gym, Dillon said.

Cobb schools Superintendent Fred Sanderson called Abbate's death "a sad occasion for the Harrison community.  There is nothing more devastating than the loss of a child," Sanderson said. "Our hearts go out to the boy's family, as well as to the families of all the students involved in the accident."

The lacrosse team narrowly missed the state playoffs in 2005. Six starters, including Schmidt, are back this season. The team had made the state semifinals in 2004.  Today's scheduled game against Kennesaw Mountain was canceled. The next Harrison boys lacrosse game is scheduled for Wednesday at Walton.

Lacrosse coach John Hunter also coached Luke in football. He called the youngster a complete athlete.  "You look for kids that are 'an athlete,' and he was an athlete," Hunter said Wednesday.  "He saw the field well and could take advantage of other people's weaknesses, and he was very much a leader and a team player.''

Luke also was passionate about his studies, Hunter said.  "He was one that wanted to make a difference in the right ways. He wanted to set a standard in the classroom and on the field," Hunter said.  "He was a very passionate person. He loved life, was a good friend to people, was a good team leader and a good son.''

Steele and Lane are both rising stars on the junior varsity boys' lacrosse team, Hunter said. The other boys are members of the varsity, Hunter said.

Miracle Austin said her son Jamal had been a close friend of Luke's since grade school.  "He was a great student and has unbelievable parents," said Austin, a member of board of directors of Harrison Hoyas football booster club.

Luke's father, Steve Abbate, is a past president of the football booster club and his mother, Maryanne, served as its treasurer, Austin said.

Renee Cain said her son Blake played on Harrison's varsity football team with Luke when both were sophomores.  "Our families have been friends since Blake and Luke played together on the Due West football recreational league team," Cain said. "They were close, like brothers."  Cain said she hopes the tragedy will become a caution to other teens.  "I don't know how this can come to any good," she said. "Maybe it will make kids be more careful."

While a sophomore, Abbate made the varsity football squad as a 5-foot, 7-inch, 158-pound wide receiver and linebacker, according to the 2005 Harrison football roster.

Luke and his brothers and sister are widely known among students and faculty at Harrison.  Luke's older brother Jonathan Abbate was the Cobb County football defensive player of the year in 2002 before going on to play at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he started as a freshman.

"Everyone around Wake Forest is very sad," university spokesman Mike Vest said Wednesday.  "Jon's family comes to almost every game. It's a very close family, and the Wake Forest family is very close. We are very saddened by what has happened."

Jonathan Abbate flew home early Tuesday morning to be with his family, Vest said.

Luke's older sister, Rachel Abbate, who has cerebral palsy, was voted the school's homecoming queen in 2002. Jonathan escorted her onto the field during homecoming ceremonies. Rachel's twin brother, Adam, attended Auburn.

Staff writers Diane Stepp, Todd Holcomb and Chandler Brown contributed to this article.

 

   
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