“Of all the superlatives out there, that was the one that makes a father the proudest,” said Hugh Shannon, David’s father. “It gives some idea to the kind of kid David was.”
On Oct. 27, 2012, David, then a first-year at UNC, was found dead in a concrete processing plant in Carrboro. David would have graduated this year.
According to Lt. Anthony Westbrook of the Carrboro Police Department, there has been no update in the case, but it is still open.
“We’re always hoping that someone will come forward and provide us with information that we can follow up on,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook said friends last saw Shannon at 9 p.m. the night before he was found.
Since David’s death, three scholarships have been started in his name — one at Myers Park High School, one at UNC and another at Carmel Baptist Church in Charlotte.
Hugh said the scholarship at Myers Park goes to a student who shows tremendous school spirit, like David.
“(The student isn’t) the star player, but a kid who’s a great teammate,” Hugh said.
To fund the scholarship, a 5K race is held each year on the Myers Park cross country trail. In 2014, Hugh said the race raised $5,000.
At UNC, there is also a David Shannon Scholarship. Each year, seniors give donations corresponding to their graduation year to their senior campaign, and the money goes to an area of campus they choose.
Hugh said a number of David’s friends have donated $20.16 to the David Shannon Memorial Fund in honor of David.
UNC junior Allie Halter, who attended Carmel Baptist Church with David, said he was someone who loved people unconditionally and showed others how to see the best in everything.
“Live and love like David,” Halter said. “All we can control is the dash in the middle.”
A year after David passed away, his father began speaking at the UNC fraternity orientations to help curb substance abuse.
Now, Hugh speaks at Greek orientations, as well as to Myers Park juniors and seniors before prom weekend.
“I speak about safety and substance abuse to try to make sure that this kind of tragedy isn’t repeated,” Hugh said. “I want to keep others from going through what we went through.”
He said after one of his speeches at a Panhellenic orientation, a young woman approached him.
She told him she suffered from clinical depression during her first year at UNC. One day, she dropped all of her books on the way back to Granville Towers and a young man stopped to help her.
She told Hugh the man helped her and told her to have an awesome day. She realized the young man who helped her was David, who died two weeks after the encounter.
“A catch phrase of David’s, which has become our catch phrase, is ‘Have an awesome day,’” Hugh said.