AKRON, Ohio -- Young people have followed their hearts to help the the family of a classmate and great friend. The 17-year-old, who everyone called Ernie, was shot and killed earlier this month.
He will always be special to his classmates including Montazia Davis who still cries. Ernie was her best friend in school.
Ernest Anderson was a talented chef, aiming for a career in hospitality. He was a student at Akron's East Community Learning Center.
"We had to help him out. That was our best friend. We had to help them out," Davis said.
Ernie was a victim of senseless gunfire on a city street that wounded another man.
The funeral is paid for but the students wanted to do something to help Ernie's family -- create a memorial. And, so, they went to work.
"They spent their own time, own money, out there hustling in the hallway, yelling, screaming, like 'for Ernest, Ernest,'" said Chelsea Raddick, student.
It was about Ernie -- all the time. They baked and sold food, especially the peanut butter pies he loved. They took donations and the money kept pouring in. They were hoping for $500. They could reach $3,000, money Ernie's family can use however they desire.
The students made sure to thank teachers and staff like Regina Warner.
"Nothing can be said about me being more proud of these kids. A lot of times we hear negative things about teenagers; these days this is what it is about. These kids loved Ernest so much."
A victim's assistance group in Akron is donating a tree in Ernie's name that will be planted at the school.