No. 27 soccer jersey was forever retired April 12 at Oakridge Middle School.
“It’s not an everyday occurrence at any middle school,” said Bryan Dillon, public information officer for Clover School District.
Soccer players from the girls and boys teams at Oakridge Middle, Clover Middle and Clover High formed a line around the periphery of the school gym as the Lamparter family was presented with the team-signed framed jersey. Alex Lamparter lost her battle against bone cancer Feb. 16, 2015, at age 16.
“No one else deserves to wear that jersey,” said her former coach Michael Pearson. “She was a big part of this program. She made quite a difference.”
Also presented, a banner will hang under the scoreboard on the soccer field.
“Every time we score, we’ll remember Alex,” Pearson said.
Former teammate Morgan Garver, a senior at Clover High School, became overwhelmed with tears talking about the friend she made in sixth grade.
“She was such an inspiration,” Garver said. “Even now, she still has an impact on my life every day. I know I can go through anything and keep a smile on my face.”
Clover High junior Sara Barr, who played school and club soccer with Alex, said her friend never complained and always wore a smile.
“It definitely shows what an impact she made, even if you didn’t know her,” Barr said of the jersey retirement ceremony. “She was so strong through everything.”
Alex, who also played soccer at Clover High, was diagnosed in January 2014 with Ewings sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that primarily affects teens and young adults.
In September 2014, Charlotte-based Dream on 3 surprised Alex at halftime of a Blue Eagles football game by announcing she and her family would depart the following morning for New York City to attend a New York Jets game and meet players. They also presented her with a signed team jersey. Her parents, George and Dorit, said they will hang the jerseys together.
“Just seeing her old teammates brings back a lot of great memories,” her mother said.
Her father said, “it feels very good to know that she’s not forgotten and the community still thinks of her.”
After Alex’s diagnosis, Clover High students led efforts to show her support “no one fights alone” by hosting a blood drive, prayer rally, and other events. The Lake Wylie community also organized a fitness expo in February 2015 at four locations to benefit the family raising $26,000. More than 100 runners came out during a rainy morning March 14,2015, to run in the second annual St. Paddy's Powder 5K at Bethelfields in York to benefit the The Gavin Slade Jones Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The foundation donated almost $2,500 to the Lamparters.
Clover High then principal Mark Hopkins and Clover School District Superintendent Marc Sosne presented Alex with a high school diploma in early February 2015.
Mary Beth Klinefelter, Oakridge Middle’s girls soccer team assistant coach, said Alex was a “model player” with a great attitude.
“She was loved and respected by everybody,” Klinefelter said. “She was a great all-around person.”
Like a post-game handshake, the soccer players took turns shaking hands with the Lamparters - including Alex’s brothers George, a freshman at Clover High, and Chris, a sixth-grader at Oakridge Middle.
“To me, she was just my daughter,” Dorit Lamparter said. “I didn’t realize the influence she had on people.”