Andrew Murphy and his family called the S Section home, and with that home came membership in the community of neighbors known as the Circle of Friends.
On Friday night, the Murphy family found out just how big that circle really is, after hundreds of kids, teens, parents and even teachers flocked to Sycamore Circle Park for a candlelight walk in memory of Andrew, the 13-year-old Murphy Junior High student who died last weekend at his home.
"The fact that as many people are here as there are now, it makes it so that i feel like my family has more people than we know about," said Shawn Murphy, 15, one of Andrew's two older brothers. "It just shows me that the community cares about us, and it's appreciated."
Friends remembered Andrew Murphy as a sweet, outgoing person.
"Everyone loved him. He was an amazing kid, good-hearted," said Lauren Elmendorf, 19, whose family has known the Murphy family for years.
Kim Rosner, a teacher at Nassakeag Elementary, was Andrew's second-grade teacher and is a parent of one of his classmates. "He was always so articulate and funny and sweet ... so wonderful," she said.
Fellow eighth-grader Anna Delligatti recalled how Andrew liked to hide around the corner in the school hallways, then jump out and startle her. "He was always smiling," she said.
Friend Cydney Crasa agreed. "Everyone's human and things do happen, but it's how we get through it that counts," she said.
The crowds of kids and teens – some of whom hadn't even known Andrew – gathered around the park's gazebo, and lit each other's candles as Shawn shouted, "I want to make sure that the light from you guys is seen by my baby brother."
They headed out of the park and onto Sycamore Circle, where sixth precinct police officers had set up a route for the walkers to travel down Sycamore and onto Sedgewick Lane, to the Murphy family's home.
The name "Andy" was spelled out in electric candles on the lawn. Group by group, Shawn Murphy called his brother's friends and classmates up to light a candle in a heart arranged below his name. When the heart was fully lit, the crowds of people held their candles up to the sky. And when they extinguished their candles all at once, a murmur went through the crowd that was suddenly then cast in darkness.
"For some strange reason," Shawn Murphy said, "I think he'll never be forgotten."