MANSFIELD (CBS) – Hundreds of friends, classmates and family members of Michaela Smith came together as a group Tuesday night to remember the Mansfield High School junior, who died in a car accident early Saturday morning.
School officials helped organize the memorial service and candlelight vigil on the school’s athletic field — a fitting tribute to the popular student-athlete who was remembered by many as funny, kind, and full of life.
A mark of how loved the 16-year-old was: the candlelight vigil in her honor had so many mourners, they ran out of candles.
“I think it shows how much Michaela was loved and respected,” said Mansfield High School Principal Michael Connolly, who said Michaela was well-known and well-liked throughout the student body.
On the stands across from the service, there was a large, candle-lit number seventeen in honor of Michaela’s lacrosse number, as her father…sat clutching his daughter’s lacrosse stick the whole time.
“I think we’re doing as best we can,” said Connolly. “I think we’re giving them all the support we can. I think we’re coming together. That’s what’s special about this community; it’s a strong community and they come together during tough times and I know tonight is just the first step in a long road to them healing and obviously grieving.”