Updated: 08/08/2014 7:44 AM
Created: 08/07/2014 5:54 PM KSTP.com
By: Kate Renner
A south Minneapolis community is grieving the loss of a young man whose life was cut short when he drowned in Lake Nokomis.
A vigil was held Thursday afternoon for 15-year-old Sha-kym Adams, who would have started his sophomore year at South High School and played on the football team.
Hundreds of friends, teammates, teachers and family came out to share their memories of Sha-kym, and one by one, they put flowers at the base of a tree.
Sha-kym went for a swim Wednesday to cool down after football captain's practice. Authorities say he drowned in the east side of the lake while swimming out to a floating dock.
His mom, Kimberly Adams, says he knew how to swim, but she still wants this to be a learning experience for the community. She also thanked the football team for trying to save his life.
"You are not at fault," she said. "This is an accident. Hug your children, tell them you love them."
These are the words Kimberly Adams wished she would have told her son Wednesday morning.
"I'm not going to see him any more. Make sure you tell them you love them," said Sharrod Rowe, Sha-kym's father.
Dozens of heart-shaped balloons were let go into the air, a sign of the huge hole Sha-kym's death leaves in his parents' hearts.
Friends describe the 15-year-old as an athlete, artist and someone who was always smiling.
"I just want everybody to know he was a very kind-hearted person. He'd never hurt a soul. He was very funny. That's all I need to say," said Carter Wendlandt, a friend of Sha-kym.
On the field and in the classroom, Sha-kym's football coach, Lenny Sedlock, said he was a cheerful, driven leader.
"He grew not just as an athlete but as a person and as a leader at that young age," Sedlock said.
Adams was practicing and lifting daily with the varsity football team in hopes of getting a letter this fall.
"Because of his work ethic, that probably was going to put him over the top to get that letter," Sedlock said.
As the team prepares to start practice Monday, there is a space on their roster that can never be filled. The team will be presenting his family with his #17 jersey before their first game on Wednesday, Aug. 27.
Lifeguards were on duty Thursday at Lake Nokomis' little beach, but no lifeguards were supervising the beach on Wednesday when Sha-kym drowned.