Whitney Kees, friends say, she was a bright young girl with much to give and a passion to encourage others. She spent much of her time encouraging fellow students to remain drug free. Ironically, she was killed by a drunk driver.
Kees was smart and a hardworking young girl who loved helping others. As her parents rememberher personality said even more. "She was very generous and loved people. She loved her church and Columbus, Georgia. I will have to say she especially loved the Shaw Raiders," said Whitney's Mother Rhonda Kees.
She loved the Raiders so much, she stood on the sidelines of every game as a cheerleader. "She went through Junior Varsity and worked her way up through the emotional tryouts and all that to Varsity," said Whitney's Father Larry Kees.
The Kees watched their daughter grow and mature into a young woman. On September 25, 1993 she cheered the team on to victory. Later that night, while riding with her boyfriend a drunk driver ran a red light. The accident killed her and left her boyfriend seriously hurt. "Our world came tumbling down and only our faith kept us strong," said Rhonda Kees.
"It was terrible and even now around September it's sad, because potential. She had to much potential to be anything," said Shaw Teacher Mona Griffin.
After Whitney's death, a garden was placed at Shaw in her honor, and in 1995 a scholarship was established through the Drug Free You and Me Conference. It's awarded each year to students in Muscogee County who pledge to remain drug-free. Something that is humbling to her parents. "It's wonderful to see Whitney's example of what she set carried out," said Rhonda Kees.
Her boyfriend, Jeff Jones, recovered from the accident and now is married with children. The scholarship that is given each year can be received by any student in Muscogee County.
The amount varies from $500 to $2,000 dollars.