Even before he started kindergarten, Isaiah Langston always asked for paper so he could draw. At first, his version of Scooby Doo was a stick dog. But he kept drawing, and the cartoon character began to come to life on paper.
The student-run art gallery at Rolesville High School wants to honor Langston’s life and love of art at a fundraising event this weekend. Some of his artwork will be for sale, along with other artists’ work, and the money raised will fund an art scholarship in Langston’s name.
Langston died after he collapsed before a Rolesville High football game Sept. 26. He was a 17-year-old junior and a linebacker for the football team. His family awaits medical reports that could shed light on what caused his death.
Langston loved football – its teamwork and physicality – but he also loved art, said his mother, Sanina Williams. Recently, she said, her son had talked about studying art in college.
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The National Art Honor Society at Rolesville High started the Red Gallery last year to host art shows. The downtown space, formerly Rolesville’s town hall, was vacant, so town leaders let the students set up shop free.
The group figured a fitting way to honor Langston would be to celebrate the things he enjoyed, especially comic books and superheroes. So Saturday’s art show will focus on that theme, complete with costumes.
For Langston’s friends, the show is a way to mourn him in a healthy way, said Autumn Leslie, 16, president of Rolesville’s art honor society.
“I think it’s just awesome,” she said.
Sanina Williams thinks so too. Her son’s fascination with Scooby Doo in those early years morphed into an appreciation for Marvel characters, especially the Incredible Hulk.
The art show is a way for Williams to know her son isn’t forgotten. He was a respectful young man who served as an usher and greeter at Raleigh North Christian Center. He took part in theater, and he was known to spontaneously sing Disney songs, even when he should have been paying attention to other things.
“He used to get in trouble all the time at school for singing,” Williams said.
Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles said he was pleased the students want to raise money for a good cause. Schools are the “center of our community,” he said.
“(Rolesville High has) got some outstanding kids that have a big heart,” Eagles said.
Williams has so many of Langston’s drawings from over the years. She planned to let the school’s art teacher pick which ones to sell.
There’s a part of Langston in each piece.
“It’s awesome, because I miss him so much daily,” Williams said.