Parker's Place honors former student
- Walnut Elementary School
The 2021 crash which claimed the life of Southmont graduate Parker Schroll still can’t stop him from continuing to touch the lives of those in Montgomery County and beyond.
That was the message Friday at Walnut Elementary where family, friends, former teachers, current and future Flyers gathered to dedicate Parker’s Place, a playground extension featuring all-new equipment, complete with a custom-build sign in his name, and a placard honoring the late student.
Telling a large crowd about Parker were his mother Lenna Schroll, a counselor at Walnut, and older brother Clinton Schroll. Teachers and those who knew him best also spoke on his behalf. All had the same message — he would have loved this.
“He loved to make his classmates laugh. People were drawn to him,” Lenna said. “And he loved little children. He took care of the kids in the nursery at the church. How many teenage boys do you see rocking babies, one in each arm, at a church nursery?
Asked what Parker would think of the dedication, his mother said he would have said “What the heck?”
“Parker was funny, and he was sharp witted. You never knew what was going to come out of his mouth. He loved entertaining others and making him laugh,” Lenna said. “But when it came to the spotlight being put on him from outside, he was very humble and didn’t want to be the center of attention. So he would be please to see these kids having so much fun. He would be out in the middle of it. But he would not like the idea that such a big fuss was made about him. Because that’s the kind of kid he was. He’s just an awesome kid.
Clinton, who could barely get the words out, said his little brother’s focus in life was service to others.
“He saw the good in a lot of people when they don’t see anything — the outcasts, or the misfits, he wanted to include them. He was able to relate to everybody.”
The playground extension was made possible through a year-long effort by the school, in cooperation with businesses strewn about the county, which raised the funds necessary to complete the project. Individual donations also mounted, Lenna said.
“Not only was it the Walnut community, it was the Crawfordsville community. Greek’s Pizzeria had a night when they donated the proceeds to Parker. They were busy the entire time, so there have been a lot of people in Crawfordsville who’ve reached out to us. We just appreciate it so much,” she said. “The cards, the phone calls, we appreciate it all.”
Principal Eric Brewer said Parker was an extremely gifted student. He had nothing but fond memories and praise for Parker and the Schroll family.
“Parker was such a special student, and he represented our school so well. He’s what a Walnut Flyer really is: someone who loves their school, and he was always willing to come back to the school for special events like graduations, his senior pictures. That was just telling of the kind of kid he really was. He was a model student for the kids to look up to,” Brewer said.
“That’s kind of the Walnut way. I think the kids have a special bond with this school out here in this country, and it symbolizes what we’re really all about — family, love, and keeping those close relationships over the long haul.”
Parker’s best friend, Cole Price, spoke about Parker’s selfless and sense of community.
“He’s just a great guy. He cheered everybody up and had the best personality you’ll ever see in somebody. Outstanding guy. Couldn’t ask for a better friend. He’s probably one of the best guys I’ve ever met, right up there with my dad,” Price said. “He went to Southmont and I went to North Montgomery. We were just sitting on the tailgate of my truck one day, and after that, it felt like the next day we’d known each other all our lives. Every day we grew closer and closer.”
To learn more about Parker’s Place and Walnut Elementary, visit www.southmontschools.org or check out the Flyers on Facebook.