Healing after loss: Tears and smiles at Boyd vigil for BHS student and graduate

By Austin Jackson | Published Saturday, December 15, 2018
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Embracing Memories

EMBRACING MEMORIES – Boyd senior Diamond Holden embraces Khloe Holden during the vigil for Boyd student Makayla Stoff and Boyd graduate Seth Evans Thursday night at the Boyd High School cafeteria. Stoff, 18, and Evans, 23, passed away in a car accident Tuesday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Vibrant memories and nearly 200 candles illuminated the Boyd High School cafeteria Thursday night as classmates, teachers and family gathered to mourn two of their own who died in a car wreck this week.

Tuesday night, Boyd senior Makayla Stoff, 18, and recent Boyd graduate Seth Evans, 23, were killed in a three-vehicle accident on Farm Road 730 at County Road 4374 between Decatur and Boyd.

Boyd High School Principal Susan Foster said it’s a tough loss for the school and the community.

“Our kids have been compassionate and caring, we’ve tried to emphasize that they will always be part of our family,” Foster said. “They may not be with us, but they will always be part of our family.”

After grief counselors came to the school to help students process the tragedy, Foster said a group of students including Diamond Holden, Ashlyn Williams, Layne Martin and Laramie Martin organized the vigil.

To Williams and Holden, Stoff was a fierce friend with a shared love of Western fashion. To Layne and Laramee Martin, she was a cherished cousin who they could always talk to.

Stoff and Evans touched many lives in their time, Williams said.

“It means everything to us to have the community support,” Williams said. “Our slogan for the year at Boyd has been ‘Protect the Legacy.’ Makayla and Seth have both left amazing legacies. Within our schools, our churches and community, they were such amazing people. They were such an amazing piece in our community. Having everyone here together is important to us.”

Emotions swept the room as Foster read aloud letters of the students’ favorite memories of Stoff, who was a current student at Boyd.

“I’m so sorry your life was taken so young, I miss you like crazy. Life without you here will never be the same,” the principal read. “I love you so much. Fly.”

Saffron Smith, who graduated with Evans in 2014, spoke on her time with Seth.

“He always made us laugh,” Smith said. “He actually got me out of detention one day. Seth was a great person. He’s going to truly be missed by our entire class. We loved him, dearly.”

A photo montage of Evans and Stoff flashed across the screen at the cafeteria moving one person to stand up and hold the candle above their head. Within seconds, the nearly 200 held up their candles singing, “I can only imagine.”

Many in attendance wore red, Evans’ favorite color, and turquoise, Stoff’s favorite.

Following the music and the montage, the vigil closed with students releasing red and turquoise balloons into the night sky.

Foster recalled Stoff as free-spirit, who she personally bonded with as the senior popped into her office for snacks.

“I will miss seeing her smile,” Foster said.

Services for Evans were held Saturday at Boyd First Baptist Church and services for Stoff were held Sunday at Salt Creek Arena.

Memorial accounts for Evans and Stoff have been set up at Wells Fargo and First Financial Bank in Boyd. There are separate accounts for both families at each location. To donate, visit either branch.

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