Queen’s Grant Lady Knights honor Aveanna Propst

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On January 29, for the second time in only six days, the Queen’s Grant Lady Knights paid tribute to a young life cut tragically short.

On December 28, 2019, tragedy struck at Concord Mills.  According to the Mooresville Tribune, a verbal altercation between two teenage males that began in a common area of the mall ended in gunfire in the parking lot.  The shots fired outside Dave & Busters missed their intended target, striking two uninvolved males and 13-year-old Aveanna Propst, who died on the scene.

Affectionately known as “Ave” by her friends and family, Aveanna was an outspoken eighth grader at A.C.E. Academy Charter school in Harrisburg who loved cheerleading, basketball, singing and dancing.  An innocent bystander killed by senseless gun violence, her death is an unthinkable and heartbreaking tragedy.

When Don Nicholas, Coach of Queen’s Grant Community School’s Lady Knights basketball team, found out that they would be playing A.C.E Academy in their last regular season game, he knew he wanted to do something.

“Once I found out in early January from one of my parents that Aveanna was a member of the A.C.E. basketball team – that we would be playing them in their last game and it was going to be their 8th grade recognition night – I knew we needed to do something besides just showing up and treating it like simply another basketball game,” says Coach Don.  “I knew it was going to be a very emotional game, and I just wanted to let A.C.E. know that we were cognizant of what had happened, and that as a basketball community, we needed to support one another.”

Wearing their own royal blue and white AP2 sweatbands, the Lady Knights presented the A.C.E. players with black and white AP2 sweatbands to honor Aveanna.

Before the start of the game, the Lady Knights locked arms and met the A.C.E. girls and their coach at center court.  On their wrists, the Lady Knights were wearing AP2 sweatbands in their own team colors of royal blue and white to honor #2, Aveanna Propst.  On their other wrists, they sported black and white AP2 sweatbands, which they placed on the wrists of each A.C.E player. As the tribute concluded, the two teams circled together and raised their arms as one in honor of Aveanna.

The two teams along with the Queen’s Grant cheer squad joined together to raise their arms in recognition of Aveanna.

This tribute comes on the heels of another emotional night for the Lady Knights as they honored Ian Kneistedt, a Queen’s Grant student who succumbed to inoperable brain cancer in November.  “We could relate to a degree to what they were experiencing,” says Coach Don. “I wanted them to know that we understand the loss of a classmate and friend.” 

A.C.E. Academy’s head coach, Athletic Director and Aveanna’s teammates were overcome with emotion at the Lady Knights’ gesture. They were so appreciative that they took the time to acknowledge what they were going through and to do something so symbolic and meaningful. 

“It was just the right thing to do,” says Coach Don simply.  “I am so incredibly proud of these girls and this team and our school for all they have done to honor Ian and Ave – young lives gone way too soon – these past two weeks.”  Coach Don also thanked the cheer squad for their participation in both tributes.

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her five-year-old daughter Hannah and her two-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: marybeth@minthilltimes.com