AHS senior Ashley Cartier was laid to rest at the Cool Springs Cemetery on Wednesday, just six days after she died from injuries she sustained from an automobile accident.
Emotions have been running high since last Friday at Ashville High School. Students arrived at school that morning to start what was supposed to be a long holiday weekend, and the start of the high school football season that night.
Instead, smiles turned to tears as students, faculty and administrators were learning about the death of one of their own. Cartier was killed earlier that morning as she was driving to school. She was 17.
Word spread quickly throughout the Ashville community.
AHS principal Patti Johnson said she was devastated.
“We are such a small school,” Johnson said. “Everybody knew Ashley and liked her. She was a great kid. She was one of those kids who enjoyed getting to school early.
"She always had something to say to you in the hallway. She was always laughing. It’s just a sad day at Ashville High School.”
Rev. James Sampley, pastor of First Baptist Church Ashville, said all are extremely grieved and hearts are broken.
“My granddaughter was in the band with Ashley,” Sampley said. “It’s been one of those things where I’ve had to work with her. I also met with the band for a good while during the day Friday. I just tried to be there as a source of counsel for them and the band director. It’s been a difficult thing all day long, but it is something that we will work through.”
Sampley said he had the devotion with the football team Friday afternoon, and they dealt with how you handle these things and the grieving process.
“We now have to deal with what will happen in the coming weeks, and how these students will handle things once they get back to a normal routine in the classroom,” Sampley said. “With it being a long weekend due to Labor Day, there will probably be some resource people at the school on Tuesday.”
Candice Cranford is the counselor at AHS and the sponsor of the Ashville High Band dance line Dawgettes. Ashley was a member of the band and dance line.
“When I first heard about the accident this morning, I was in shock,” Cranford said. “My concern first and foremost was the students, especially the dance line. I wanted to make sure they heard the news first, and didn’t hear it in a standardized classroom.
"Ashley will be greatly missed on the dance line. I’m just trying to keep the girls positive tonight. We let them take some fun pictures tonight since it is the first ballgame. I do know it will be a difficult time for them tonight on the football field as they present the halftime show.”
As fans from both Ashville and Springville entered Kin Logan Stadium for the game, emotions of the tragedy were still raw. A green wreath was placed in the band section where Ashley would have been.
Before the game, AHS student Emily Glasgow voiced a prayer asking God to bring comfort in this time of sorrow.
Johnson voiced appreciation to the Springville band and fans for their support and love during a very difficult time.
At halftime, after the Ashville band played, several of Ashley’s classmates and friends went to midfield and released balloons in her memory. Many cried out loud still in shock of what had happened earlier that morning. There were hugs and words of encouragement. As the Ashville football team entered the field for the second half, they knelt down as the balloons were released.
After the game, as the two football teams met in the middle of the field, the AHS band was invited back to the field to join the two teams in prayer. Shane Bearden, pastor of Flow Church in Ashville, led the prayer.
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.