Connor Slates played on championship tennis teams at Dallastown High School. To honor Slates  memory, a scholarship fund was set up in his name.
Connor Slates played on championship tennis teams at Dallastown High School. To honor Slates memory, a scholarship fund was set up in his name. (File photo)

Gavin Smith was 10 the first time that he met Connor Slates.

They were both aspiring tennis players at the time.

"We were competitive with each other at that age," Smith said. "We became friends off the court, but, on the court, it was pretty competitive."

Smith and Slates stayed with tennis and both played together on championship teams at Dallastown High School. In their senior year (2008), they captured the York-Adams and District 3-AAA doubles championships.

When they weren't on the court or in the classroom, Smith and Slates were, many times, doing something together.

"We used to hang out a lot," Smith recalled. "We would go to concerts, and every weekend when tennis was over, we would go do something."

Even though the two went their separate ways for college, they spoke with each other on a regular basis and even got together occasionally.

Smith recalls going to see the movie "Ted" with his friend last summer.

A week later, Smith received the devastating news that Slates had died at the age of 22.

"I was definitely one of his best friends," Smith said. "I never had to go through anything like that (losing a close friend)."

To honor Slates' memory, a scholarship fund was set up in his name.

On Wednesday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Isaac's, in the South York Plaza on Pauline Drive, will hold a Community Night during which 25 percent of the cost of each meal will go to the scholarship fund.

"After the celebration of life service for Connor, Mark Koons (the Dallastown High School boys' tennis coach) said, we are going to set up a scholarship fund in Connor's name so that future generations will know who Connor Slates was," said Doug Slates, Connor's father. "I was just blown away by that. We (Slates, his wife, Jane and son, Chris) have received some tremendous outpouring of love from friends and family."

Doug Slates said the Community Night is just one of the things they're going to be doing to raise money for the scholarship fund.

"It (the scholarship) will be an annual award given out each year at the tennis banquet," he said. "The happiest times Connor had in his life were his high school days."

-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin da@yorkdispatch.com.