BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Hundreds of Bossier students, teachers and friends paid tribute to a young student, killed over the summer in an out-of-state interstate crash. The unique memorial was held inside Princeton Elementary's library for Bailey Speights' family.
"I can't express what the faculty and the schools have done that they didn't have to do," said Bailey's mother Stefanie Romanyak.
Rows of chairs were filled with family, some of Bailey's former teachers, and friends. At the front, a table with two lit candles, an array of photos of Bailey and a basket. Nearly all 5th graders at Princeton filed in, passing the table in the front, dropping notes into the basket. On the cards were their personal thoughts about Bailey or encouraging words for the family. 10-year-old Bailey would have been a 5th grader at Princeton this fall.
"Very, very proud of our student body," said a tearful principal Andrea Spinney. "They were respectful of Bailey's family and they were proud to walk in."
The school also unveiled a memorial stone in Bailey's honor in the school's remembrance garden.
"Together as a school and a family unit, we wanted to give an opportunity for our student body to write notes, write memories about Bailey, if they wished, and to really support the family to lift them up," said Spinney.
Bailey's mother was overly thankful for all the school has done for her family since the tragic accident on a Kentucky interstate back on July 1. Bailey, her step father, sister and mother, were hit from behind by an 18-wheeler. Bailey was killed and her mother and step-father seriously injured. Bailey's step-father, Michael Romanyak, is an airman at Barksdale Air Force Base.
"There were teachers who drove 5 hours one way just to come to her service," said Romanyak.
Bailey's funeral was held in southern Mississippi.