columbine - the victims
Full of laughter, sophomore gave all
By Kevin Coleman
Special to The Denver Post
April 23 - If there was one thing Matt Kechter didn't like, it was not giving everything he had no matter what the endeavor.
Family. Friends. Academics. Football.
"He always wanted everything and everyone to be in the best possible situation they could be in,'' said friend Jason Jones, still reeling from the news that Kechter was of the 15 people who died in Tuesday's shooting spree. "He would always think everything was great all of the time.''
Kechter, a 210-pound Columbine High School sophomore, who was looking forward to earning a starting linemen's spot on the football team next fall, was discovered among the dead in the school's library.
"When I heard he was one of the ones from the library, it only made sense,'' said sophomore basketball player Greg Barnes. "He was always in the library studying. He always put academics first.''
Barnes said he and Kechter would meet at the library in the morning and study or just hang out.
"He had straight A's but he would never brag about it,'' Barnes said. "I kinda looked up to him because of it. He was never in a bad mood, he was consistenly happy.''
Jones said the only time he ever saw Kechter show any kind of disappointment was if he got a B-plus on a class assignment.
"He felt like he was letting himself and everyone else down,'' said Jones, who was working on a World War II project with Kechter in the libraray Tuesday morning, a few hours before the shooting started. "He always set such high goals for himself. And he reached them too.''
Winning a starting linemen's spot next fall was also high on Kechter's agenda.
"I know that was something he was driving for,'' Rebels football coach Andy Lowry said. "Matt always worked hard in the weightroom. But he was such a good kid. He was the type of kid you always wanted on your football team. He was always just so positive.''
Freshman football coach Kevin Parman said Kechter was a real character.
"He just loved to laugh,'' said Parman. "He just really enjoyed himself.''
Barnes said Kechter's family was "very tight-knit''.
The Columbine football team, coaches, and many other of the school's athletes gathered Wednesday night at Jones family's home. It was the first time many of the students had seen each other and let loose with their emotions. The Kechters sent over a few color pictures of Matt so, in some way, he would still be among the people he really cared about.
The family, politely, has declined to talk to the media. Friends who have spoken with the Kechters say they are devastated by his death.
"He was always talking about his family,'' Barnes said. "Matt always waited for his little brother to come home from school by the mailbox out in front of his house. He was just that kind of guy.''
Said Jones: "He was the most innocent person I knew.''
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