There were tears and there were embraces. There was pain and there was hope.
Several hundred gathered at Highland High School stadium on Thursday night to come together as a community following several tragedies in the last year.
“There has been incredible pain and suffering, but at the same time compassion has poured out of people’s hearts,” the Rev. Tim McCollum of Sharon Center United Methodist Church said over a loudspeaker.
In just 12 months, he said the Highland Local School District community has dealt with a lot of heartbreak. There was the October football game during which senior Kory Wiita suffered a serious spinal cord injury, and the December car accident that killed 16-year-old Victoria Jackson. Last week, 16-year-old Erin Ehrbar and her 13-year-old brother, Andrew, died following a two-car accident.
“Any one of those things is enough to make or break a community. And in this community they have been topped one on top of another and another,” he said. “And it hurts.”
But there’s always hope, McCollum said.
“God is more compassionate and more loving than anything that may come against us,” he said.
In that spirit, the crowd lit candles and circled the track in silent reflection.
Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.