Today is an appropriate time to reflect on the name of the field where we plan to gather for the tree lighting and bonfire this evening. Grayson Banks Hooper ’96 (in photo from the 1996 yearbook) loved sports and the people around him. He played football for four years at North Cross and joined the wresting team as a senior to help the team fill an important weight class. Grayson died suddenly during wrestling practice on January 16, 1996, a few months before graduating from North Cross. Writing in the 1996 yearbook, his friend Bradley Densmore ’96 wrote that “people who knew him fairly well would always say that there is nobody nicer. This may be the most simple but perfect description of Grayson for most who knew him, but for me, he was my best friend.” Richard Cook lived near the Hooper family in Salem and remembers Grayson fondly. “Grayson was a great kid who smiled a lot and was loved by most everybody because he did not have a mean bone in his body,” he said.
Grayson’s parents, Bob and Bonnie Hooper, currently live in South Roanoke and remain close with many of Grayson's friends. His brother Charles Hooper ’99 is a real estate developer and restaurateur in Roanoke and is engaged to Leah Boardwine. “It was special to show her Hooper Field and express how important the North Cross community is to me and my family. We love North Cross and are still blown away by the grace and kindness of this amazing group of families,” he said.