Potsdam High School senior organizes concert in remembrance of slain middle school student
POTSDAM -- A Potsdam High School senior is organizing a concert in remembrance of a popular Potsdam middle school student on the anniversary of his slaying a year ago.
Troy O'Brien has arranged for a cast of six singers ranging in age from 11 to 17 to perform at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 in the high school auditorium in a concert to remember Garrett Phillips, the 12-year-old student who was killed Oct. 24, 2011 in the Market Street apartment he shared with his mother.Garrett's cousins, Kayla and Kobe Phillips, will have a special performance.
The concert idea began as O'Brien's Capstone Project, a service requirement of Potsdam High seniors, but as he talked to friends and community leaders about it, it became clear to him that the concert would be more than a school requirement.
O'Brien said he knew the one-year anniversary would be coming up, "but I hadn't heard about anything planned for it, so I thought maybe we should put something together."
O'Brien said the required senior project "can be anything, but is has to be something involving the real world."
He remembered "seeing everyone who knew him and seeing how they felt about his passing, and I thought Garrett needed some kind of memorial. It's turned into an event that's more than a senior project. It's something I need to do. It's not just a senior project anymore."
O'Brien said the funds raised will go to the "Justice for Garrett" fund, which began as a reward fund run by the boy’s uncle, Brian Phillips, but since no new information in the case has come to light, recent discussion has centered on using the funds for a memorial to the well-liked boy.
The community was shaken when it heard of the death of Garrett Phillips, a popular student at A.A. Kingston Middle School.
Potsdam police said that Garrett was at home after school that Monday afternoon when neighbors heard a loud noise and then moaning coming from the apartment.
Police were called and he was found unconscious and alone.
He was taken by the Potsdam Volunteer Rescue Squad to Canton-Potsdam Hospital, but efforts there to save him were unsuccessful.
Days later police declared his death a homicide, but the investigation, aided by New York State Police and their crime laboratory and the district attorney's office, has stalled. No arrest has been made and no suspects have been named.
The concert is envisioned an event where community members, many of whom feel unrelieved grief, can remember Garret.
The suggested donation is $3 per person or $10 per family, but no one will be turned away.