Whitewright HS teen dies after lengthy illness

A small school district in Grayson County is shutting down on Friday to honor a well-liked teenager who died at a Dallas hospital this week.

While Larry Donaldson's cause of death has not yet been determined, he had been suffering with flu-like symptoms since last fall before he died on Jan. 1.

Whitewright High School Principal Steve Morrow described Larry as a football player who didn't back down, though he was a lineman quite small in size. He was also in Future Farmers of America and a member of the Beta Club for honor students.

"He was one of those hustling kids, just kind of a shock when we first found out for everybody,” Morrow said.

Morrow says Larry was a healthy kid, but became sick with flu-like symptoms in October that only worsened. His exact cause of death is not yet determined.

"They were in ICU, they first thought it was Kawasaki’s which he had as a young boy. They thought it was toxic shock syndrome, a lot of different things, none of them good. They never really came to an outcome as to what it was,” Morrow said.

His classmates held prayer vigils and fundraising drives and held out hope that Larry would recover.

"It's devastating among all three campuses,” said teacher Molly Johnson. “We had Larry here, then Joli his sister the year before, Mom taught at the elementary and his little brother is at the middle school.  So it touches all three campuses."

Donaldson’s celebrated AP World History project is one way his memory lives on.

Before he fell ill with flu-like symptoms and with his dad's help, the 10th grader baked a recipe including sand, clay and water to make the type of bricks used during prehistoric civilization.

“This to me shows what kind of student Larry was, it's very neat, it's in depth, it's beautiful,” Johnson said.

The funeral service will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday at King’s Trail Cowboy Church in Whitewright.