The Pioneer spirit was alive and well Friday at David Crockett High School, despite the events of the previous day in which 26 students were injured when a school bus crashed shortly after dismissal.
Student Council members Westley Canter Jr. and Morgan Burchfield were preparing the school for Friday’s homecoming game when they received word their fellow classmates and friends had been involved in the crash.
“Today it’s been nothing but family, basically,” Burchfield said. “We’ve all come together and there’s been no hostility toward one another.”
Since an event like homecoming already celebrates the school and the students who proudly call it their home, a group of students got together early Friday morning to figure out how to use the event as a way of helping their fellow classmates through the trying day.
The group decided to design a T-shirt showcasing the Pioneer spirit in support of the victims of Thursday’s bus crash.
State Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, donated funds for the shirts to be made, and students sold them for $10 at Friday’s game.
Canter said all of the proceeds will go toward the victims’ hospital bills.
That type of camaraderie isn’t an unusual thing for the students of David Crockett, as evidenced by the support the entire Pioneer community has given one another.
“Now we’re all together and a lot of other schools are stepping in to show their support,” Canter said.
Burchfield added that faculty, especially the work of Principal Andy Hare, has helped the entire community come together as they deal with the tragedy.
“Crockett is one big family, as Principal Hare had said earlier. We’re fortunate enough to have him here to help us whether it’s good or bad. Since the tragedy, he’s been here for everyone, no matter what time of day it’s been,” she said.
Hare said the outpouring of love and support are just a few of the “silver linings” that have come along with Thursday’s crash.
“It shows how powerful a community can be when they are focused on one objective, and that objective today was to support these kids,” he said.
Hare spent much of Friday visiting with the students who were still in the hospital.
With homecoming on everyone’s mind, Hare said that helped in turning students’ spirits around.
If there ever was a time to be proud to be a Pioneer, it was Friday.
“This school has been here for 41 years and I’m seeing it come together like it never has before and I think you’ll see that tonight. It’s more than just remembering former classmates tonight, it’s about a whole community coming together,” he said.
T-shirts benefitting the crash victims will be available for purchase if sold out during Friday night’s game.
For more information, call 753-1150.