My senior year of high school, I signed up for AP Chemistry, but they didn't have enough people sign up for it, so they stuck me in Biology II with a lot of juniors and a couple of seniors. To be honest, I hated the class at first because I didn't really like the people who were in there. Eventually, I realized I was just being a jerk & people can change, so I started talking to other people around me. Our teacher, Mrs. VanderHoek was probably my favorite teacher EVER. She always gave us group work, and at first I only worked with the people who sat right around me so that I wouldn't have to talk to other people..haha. Eventually, I got up and started talking to other people. One of them was Ashley, she was also a senior, and we'd known each other since like, middle school. She sat next to this girl named Whitney. Whitney seemed quiet and reserved, until you got her really talking. She was someone who laughed obnoxiously because she REALLY thought something was funny. She was someone you can't HELP but be happy around because she was always smiling.

The week after prom, Mrs. VanderHoek called Whitney out in class and said she had been dancing provocatively at prom. Whitney giggled and said that's how everyone dances at prom. This being said, just to show that Whitney was someone who was caring and happy, but could have fun.


Today, one year ago, I was asleep in Morgan's bed. She woke up to a text and woke me up freaking out. She was upset and saying that Neil Morgan had been in a car accident the night before and he was in the ICU. Everyone was texting everyone and no one really knew anything. I told her to just go take a shower, and I went back to sleep for a little bit. I didn't want to have to think about everything. I didn't really know him, but I knew of him, and our school isn't so big...so it kinda hurt anyways.

When Morgan got out of the shower, I got up to brush my teeth. When I got back in the room, she was sitting on her laptop facing the door crying. I asked her what was wrong, and all she could do was point to the screen and say 'She's gone. I will never get to talk to her again.' I looked at the screen to see Whitney Newman pulled up on facebook.

They were in the wreck together. Neil was in the ICU and Whitney died on impact. Robbie, the driver, was the only one sober. Neil was goofing around in the car, and accidentally hit the steering wheel, sending the car into an uncontrollable frenzy. This goes to show that even if you think you are making the right decision, you need to STILL be careful. Our county has gone through so much this past year. We've had MANY other wrecks, including mine, one with another guy who passed away in Whitney & Neil's class, and another with 3 juniors. Valerie, Becca (?), and Logan. I didn't really know any of them, I knew Valerie the most...she lived like, 5 houses down from me, but Valerie & Becca are out of the hospital. Logan is still in a coma, and I believe its around day 45 for him.

Its hard, and Effingham has come together a lot to pray for him. Each wreck, we have hoped the person lived, and we have prayed & prayed for the victims. Now, we realize all we can do is drive safe, and keep praying for Logan. As Mrs. VanderHoek always said at then end of every class - The decisions you make today will affect you for the rest of your life so be safe in your adventures and choose wisely!  (I didn't forget. :))

- Katie

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