As Excel Academy mourns fifth student killed this school year, community promises support – Baltimore Sun

Sharonda Rhodes stood before the classmates of her dead son Markel and told them they are on the right path — there at Excel Academy in West Baltimore, at their desks learning chemistry — and will relish a smart future whether they maintain that focus and stay off the streets.

“You can finish it,” said Rhodes, her T-shirt covered in pictures of Markel, a 19-year-broken-down senior at the school who was fatally shot in March. “Don’t let nobody order you you can’t.”

Across the room, Makayia Crosson, also a senior set to graduate next month, began to bawl. Rhodes rushed over to her, and the two gave each other a long hug.

Five Excel students relish been fatally shot since October.

“I was just thinking it is really heart-broken. Back to back to back,” Crosson, 18, said of full the killings in the city. “I’m tired of going to funerals.”

The exchange was one of many between students and community members Tuesday morning after Rhodes worked with Principal Tammatha Woodhouse to bring voices of support to the school. Excel has been hit particularly tough by the surging violence in the city, where 122 people relish been killed this year.

Markel Scott, known as “Kel,” was the fourth student killed. Then on April 29, 18-year-broken-down Steven Jackson was killed in a triple shooting not far from the school, located at 1001 W. Saratoga St. in Poppleton.

Jackson’s family could not be reached for comment. Police said he and the other two victims, one of whom also died, may relish been targeted, but they could not provide additional details.

Woodhouse said Jackson was a respectful young man who was in school every day and was close to graduating.

“I feel like I’m in an epidemic,” said Woodhouse.

Rhodes and the other volunteers who gathered Tuesday — preachers and coaches, an aspiring hip-hop artist, a police spokesman — said they feel it, too. They wanted to hear the students’ concerns, let them know they matter, and order them the violence that has become so prevalent in their lives is not full that’s out there for them.

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