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The teenager shot after going to the wrong house to pick up his siblings on Thursday is a section leader in a marching band and could often be found with a musical instrument in hand, said Faith Spoonmore, who identified herself as Ralph Yarl’s aunt.

GoFundMe started by Spoonmore to help the family raise money for medical expenses had garnered more than $1.5 million in donations by Monday afternoon.

Ralph had been looking forward to graduating from high school and visiting West Africa before starting college, his aunt wrote in the fundraiser.

Most recently, Ralph earned Missouri All-State Band honorable mention for playing the bass clarinet, according to a North Kansas City Schools’ newsletter in February. He also plays multiple instruments in the metropolitan youth orchestra, his aunt wrote.

He is a member of his school’s Technology Student Association and Science Olympiad Team and is a 2022 Missouri Scholars Academy alumni, she wrote.

“Last summer, Ralph attended Missouri Scholar’s Academy, where he got a full college life experience,” Spoonmore wrote. “His goal is to attend Texas A&M to major in chemical Engineering. When asked how he plans to get into this university, he said, ‘Well, if they have a scholarship for music or academics, I know I can get it.’ “

“Life looks a lot different right now. Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally. The trauma that he has to endure and survive is unimaginable,” the GoFundMe post reads.

Dan Clemens, superintendent of North Kansas City Schools, released a statement saying Ralph is “an excellent student and talented musician”

“We are devastated to learn one of our students was involved in a horrific incident last week,” Clemens wrote. “Our thoughts are with the Yarl family, and I know I speak for all of us when we wish him a full and quick recovery. Ralph is an excellent student and talented musician. He maintains a stellar GPA while taking mostly college level courses. While he loves science and hopes to pursue that career path, his passion is music. Thankfully, we know he is now recovering alongside family.”


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