Updated 6/8/2012 3:40 p.m.

Austin teen Sade McGee was not only an academic star at her school but an individual who walked to her beat.

Her teacher at Horatio May Academy, Jeff Hetrick, most admired that in 13-year-old.

“It was pretty cool watching Sade this year because she tried to step out of the box from what other students were doing,” Hetrick said. “A lot of kids think in the same path – when we’re talking about shoes all the kids are like ‘Nike, Nike, Nike,’ but Sade found this pair of running shoes that nobody’s ever heard of, and she ran with it doing a research project on that, so it was pretty cool to see her develop an out-of-the-box thinking this year.”

The May school community is mourning the death of McGee, who died June 1 after a hit-and-run car accident at Central Avenue and Washington Boulevard. McGee’s funeral took place Friday, June 8 at Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel, 5345 W. Madison. Her closest teachers at May Academy say the memory of the smart and hard-working student will not disappear from within the school.

May Principal Roger Lewis said Sade began attending the school when she was in third grade. Most recently, she was a member of the math club. Lewis recalled Sade having “the most wonderful personality.”

“Sade is one of the stars of our school,” he said. “She was beloved by all faculty and staff. Everyone loved her. Every teacher enjoyed having her in the classroom.”

Sade also participated in Hetrick’s morning book club meetings, which would turn into life discussions.

“I developed a pretty close bond with her,” said Hetrick, her writing teacher of two years. “It was such a fun part of the week for me.”

The most recent book Sade and the other book club students were reading was “Because of Winn Dixie.” Hetrick hasn’t held a meeting since Sade died, saying, “There’s a hole there.” Sade wasn’t only a deep thinker but also a loyal student. Her math teacher, Katrina Tell, said she would often come early to school and stay late.

“I had the honor of having her not only as a math student for two years, but she was in my homeroom as a fifth-grader,” Tell said. “We got a lot of quality time to spend with each other this year, and I’ve seen so much growth academically.”

Sade was also athletic, her teacher recalls. The school’s PE teacher posts student’s physical fitness records in the gym.

“There was her name under pull-ups,” Tell said. “She was in the top three. She’s everywhere around here without even seeing her. I’m going to truly miss her. I really loved her as a student. She will be missed.”

Denise Beckom taught reading to Sade during fifth and sixth grade. “Very positive and tender-hearted” is how Beckom remembers the teen, as well as being very supportive to her teachers and fellow classmates.

“She was our sixth-grade representative and honor roll student for 2012, and she will be missed,” said Beckom, who recalled a specific moment when Sade lent her support.

“I coordinated the ISAT pep rally, and I ask the kids to come in early, and Sade came in early twice to help me do whatever it was that I needed to do for the pep rally. She also stayed late to help me get things ready for the ISAT for this year.”

Sade, Beckom added, was an “all around angel.”