NEWTON GROVE — On the gridiron, the Raiders of Midway High School battle to score touchdowns after crossing the goal line. As the football players celebrate and the marching band starts to play, Jackson Barefoot will always be remembered.
The band introduced a new fight song titled “Midway Raiders March” in honor of Jackson. In July, the 17-year-old was killed after he was struck by a passing vehicle, while riding his bike in northern Sampson County.
Band Director Joshua Tew said he’s been thinking about changing the fight song for several years. The previous one was Notre Dame’s “Victory March.” The school reached out to Steven Kelly to start a new tradition which began at the beginning the season.
“The crowd loves it, so we’re happy with that,” Tew said. “This is something that will always be here. It’ll be our official fight song and we’ll use it forever.”
Tew taught Jackson band music at Midway Middle School and through high school before his passing.
“He was wonderful,” Tew said. “He did a great job an he was a great person. It’s been tough for all of us.”
Dylan Hickok, a tuba player, known Barefoot since the seventh grade and became good friends in the eighth grade. By high school they were best friends.
“His memory will always be here forever because this is dedicated to him,” Hickok said. “He was a genuinely good person. He was someone I could go to when I needed someone to talk to. We were best friends.”
Principal Monty Strickland loves the Notre Dame fight song, but when he heard the new one it touched him.
“It’s well put together and a testament to Jackson and his memory,” Strickland said. “When they score a touchdown and they play that fight song, it’s something we’re always going to remember. That’s Jackson’s song.”
He praised Tew and the band for remembering Jackson through the new song. Strickland said he was a phenomenal and wonderful student.
“He’s missed, but we’ll continue to honor his memory,” Strickland said. “This is a great example of how it’ll go on and on.”
Midway’s Student Government Association are working on a memorial site project to honor Jackson. Carli Carroll, senior class president, is leading the effort. The effort began a few months ago with $3,000 so far. One of the ideas is a bench, but depending on how much money is raised, it could turn into a bigger project such as fountain. Students are also involving family members in the project.
“We’re going to make it the nicest we can for him,” Carroll said.
Like her peers, Carroll believes the fight song is special and something that’s going to be remembered for years to come.
“When I come back for our homecoming game, they’ll be playing it,” Carroll said. “It’ll be special then and now.”
Donations are currently being accepted by contacting Carroll through Facebook. For more information regarding the fundraiser, contact Carroll at 910-709-8516.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.