Hilton Head Prep student killed in crash mourned, other injured teens honored at prayer vigil

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Hilton Head Prep student killed in crash mourned, other injured teens honored at prayer vigil

Published Monday, November 21, 2011   |  718 Words  |  

Classmates, friends and family members of Kendall Walton, the 17-year-old Hilton Head Preparatory School student who died after her car struck a tree last week, had two goals Monday: supporting one another as they cope with the loss of Kendall and praying the four other teens injured in the crash would recover.

"It's been rough. Rough for everybody -- the families, friends, and all of the schools," said Avery Fine, 16, a Hilton Head High School student and friend of Walton's. "You keep expecting to see her walk into the room ... The families are so strong. We're praying for them every day."

On Monday afternoon, a memorial service for Walton at Hilton Head's First Presbyterian Church honored the spunky senior who friends say "lived life to the fullest."

That evening, a prayer vigil was held at Hilton Head Island High School's football stadium for three of the injured passengers -- Nate Riley, 18, a graduate of the school, and Maggie Deery, 18, and Megan Shepherd, who are seniors.

Jacob Schultz, a former Hilton Head Prep student visiting the island, was injured in the crash but was able to attend Walton's memorial.

At the service, a rendition of "Edelweiss" was performed by Walton's former castmates from the school's recent production of "The Sound of Music."

Walton's sister, Madison, told hundreds of well-wishers that the last time they spoke, Walton gushed about how proud she was of the production.

"There was never a dull moment," Madison Walton, a Virginia Tech student, said. "She talked about 'The Sound of Music' and how excited she was. She was one of a kind."

The group had wrapped production of the play about a week before Walton's death.

Tracey Winn, a friend of Walton's, said the teen was "fearless" and had a zest for life not many possess.

"There are many things we can learn from Kendall's life," she said. "She tried to fit in as much as she could into every day. Let us all live with the same passion and enthusiasm."

At Hilton Head High Monday night, well-wishers gathered for a candlelight vigil, praying for the Walton family and those injured in the crash.

Deery, a senior at Hilton Head High School, suffered head and neck injuries and underwent surgery Friday at Savannah Memorial, family friends said.

She also sustained a fractured arm, elbow, pelvis and neck and injuries to her spinal cord, according to information posted on her CaringBridge.org web page. On Saturday, the teen remained on a respirator in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Riley, 18, a graduate of Hilton Head Island High School, was in fair condition Monday at Savannah Memorial and was expected to undergo surgery on his left arm, according to his CaringBridge.org web page.

"It's overwhelming," said Madeline Krimm, a Hilton Head High senior. "We're lighting these candles in hope."

Justin Shaw, also a senior at the school, said youth group members, teachers and parents came together Sunday to organize an event to show support for the affected families.

By the end of the day Monday, the football field's concession stand was packed with water, candles and other refreshments.

"It's awesome to see how the community can come together," Shaw said. "We just really want to show our support for the families."

Follow reporter Cassie Foss at twitter.com/LcBlotter.

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