Gabriela Cabrera, Staff Writer
Wingate University students were silent as they gathered together on Thursday to hold a candlelight vigil for a sophomore who passed away earlier this week.
Geoffrey Dawkins, a sophomore criminal justice major, passed away at CMC Main in Charlotte, North Carolina. Students honored his memory by gathering together to share the joy he had brought to each of them. Geoffrey was a member of the Wingate Pep band and Marching band and also the Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Students gather for a candlelight vigil for the passing of Geoffrey Dawkins
Noah Couick, student manager of Wingate University’s Writing Center, said that Geoffrey was not only a fighter through his sickness, but also through his academics.
“He frequently visited the Writing Center for help with papers and had a zeal to succeed,” said Couick. “I look back and am honored to know that I read the papers of this student.”
Students assembled on the Stegall lawn, hugging and sharing support as Shannon Powell, the director of the Campus Fellowship for Christian Athletes, opened with prayer.
Shelby Dworek, a junior, said she felt comforted being surrounded by friends who also knew Geoffrey.
“You could hear people crying as Mr. Powell started praying. We were all there to support each other in this loss,” said Dworek.
Gage Sumrall, a sophomore who shared the same Kappa Alpha Order fraternity as Dawkins, said that Dawkins was not only a friend and fellow band member, but a brother to him as well.
“Geoffrey Dawkins will be missed by many, but I am so happy to know that his health will never be an issue again,” said Sumrall.
Geoffrey suffered from a skin disease that affected his skin, nails and hair growth. By sophomore year in high school he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that makes it hard for the heart to deliver blood throughout the body.
Cardell Rawlings, a senior, said that once someone got to know Dawkins, he was easily the most genuine and happiest person to walk this Earth.
Rawlings, along with Sumrall and others on the football team, surprised Dawkins, before he passed, by visiting him at CMC Main.
Rawlings said Dawkins kept mentioning how much he wished he could have been at the Wingate homecoming game.
“He stayed so positive and kept telling me, ‘Keep going, keep grinding, it’s all going to pay off’,” said Rawlings. “That hit me then and has hit me even deeper now.”
The vigil ended with the students reciting the Lord’s prayer.
The fraternity brothers of Kappa Alpha Order set up a Go Fund Me page for Dawkins’ family, to help pay his medical bills.
Edited by: Brea Childs
Photo cover by: Gabriela Cabrera