BOONE COUNTY, WV (WCHS)- Jonathan Lester, 17, was an exceptional athlete and hard worker, but most of all a friend. He was killed over the weekend when the car he was riding in crashed near Danville, allegedly at the hands of a drunk driver.
Tuesday was tough day at Scott High School, as friends and classmates remembered the guy they always knew as “Tater” – a nickname he was given as a baby.
“It’s a tragic, tragic loss for our school because he was beloved by so many,” said principal Jacob Messer.
Those who knew him said Lester had a smile that would light up the room – and a laugh that his classmates will never forget.
“You could always expect a joke, something to lighten the mood,” said head baseball coach Brett Kuhn. “I was one of his little league coaches at an all-star game. ‘Tater’ couldn’t come to my mind, so I ended up calling him French fry or hash brown. We would come up with different nicknames for him,” said Kuhn.
Shortly after learning the news, friends and classmates set up a memorial outside of Scott High School, reading “Fly High Tater” – their way of remembering the boy who was friends with everyone. Coaches say they’ll remember his ability as a teammate just as much as his skills on the field.
“He was going to give 110%, no matter what the score was on the scoreboard,” said Kuhn.
Lester was a star athlete, the quarterback for the Scott Skyhawks football team and played baseball. He also excelled in the classroom. He was enrolled in the vocational school’s Allied Health Program, looking to pursue a career in healthcare – always looking to help others.
“If you knew Tater, you couldn’t help but love him,” said Messer. “He’d make the most out of life – that’s what Tater did.”
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help Lester’s family with funeral expenses. The community also attended a candlelight vigil at the high school to honor his memory.