ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) — The family of a Rocky Mount teenager who was murdered in 2019 has created a scholarship in his name.
The new scholarship is called the DeQuan “Noot” Dickens Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
Demeka Johnson says her 18-year-old son wanted to enroll at Elizabeth City State University.
“He was taking up early childhood, that’s what his major was gonna be,” Johnson said of her son’s dream of helping children succeed.
Noot never got that chance. On July 12, 2019, about a month after graduating high school, Dickens was shot and killed while celebrating his niece’s birthday at a house on Long Avenue.
Someone fired multiple bullets through the windows with 18 people inside.
“I pray every day, I have for almost two years that someone would come forward, and that justice would be served,” Johnson said of finding her son’s killer.
Dickens’ murder remains unsolved.
While the family waits for justice, they created the scholarship to keep his name and memory alive. They made the official announcement on what would have been Dickens’ 20th birthday.
Family and friends held a celebration at Holly Street Park on Sunday wearing shirts with Dickens’ name and photo.
“It makes me happy,” Johnson said of the support. “Sometimes I get sad, but for the most part, it brings my heart joy to see so many people still remembering him.”
Dickens’ former boss at Burger King in Rocky Mount pitched in to help get the scholarship fund started.
Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson also pledged to donate half of his 2021 salary to help out.
“I cried tears of joy, I did,” Johnson said of the financial support for the scholarship.
She added, “It makes me very happy that he’ll give in his name, that he’ll give someone else the chance to go to college and fulfill their education, something he was cheated out of.”
Scholarships will be awarded to students who attend Edgecombe Community College. Preference will be given to students who plan to pursue a career in education or criminal justice.
CBS 17 reached out to Rocky Mount Police to see if there are any suspect’s in the murder, but have not heard back. Anyone with information about the case should contact police.