South View High School students remember teacher with prayers
Posted May 13, 2014
Hope Mills, N.C. — Students at South View High School in Cumberland County gathered Tuesday morning to remember their math teacher of 13 years, who they unexpectedly lost last week.
They met before classes at the school's flag pole to pray for William Neil Parnell III, 38, who was killed when his car didn't brake and crashed Friday afternoon into a stopped school bus in Harnett County.
"He was a very fun person. He could turn the tough situations into something that you could laugh about," student Alexandria Morrison said. "I think that's how he would want to be remembered."
South View High Principal Brian Edkins said last week that Parnell was a good teacher with whom students had a great rapport, partly because of his sarcasm and sense of humor.
"He is a good teacher but is a better father," said Parnell's 12-year-old son, William Parnell IV, who showed up at the school Tuesday morning.
"A couple of times, my dad has spoke to me, telling me it's going to be all right and stuff," the younger Parnell added. "My brother, he's been giving me hugs and stuff and telling me it's going to be all right, but I'm doing fine, right now."
A memorial service is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the chapel of Parrish Funeral Home, at 1351 S. Pollock St. in Selma. His family – including his wife, daughter and another son, as well as two brothers – will receive friends following the service.
South View High also plans to honor Parnell Thursday by wearing orange – his favorite color.
The school year has been a difficult one for students.
They are still reeling from the loss of Danielle Locklear, a 15-year-old freshman who local authorities say was murdered in March and whose body was found April 3 in the South River.
"South View has tremendous resiliency, and it has a great leader in Mr. Edkins," Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till Jr. said Tuesday. "They deal with the tragedy, and they move forward."