Popular Northwest High student honored at vigil

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by MARCUS MOORE, MARIE SAAVEDRA and TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @MSaavedraTV

WFAA

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 11:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 13 at 12:20 AM

AURORA –– Some 200 family and friends of 16-year-old Shyann Hooper came together at a candlelight vigil in her memory on Wednesday night.

The pews were packed shoulder-to-shoulder at Aurora Baptist Church, where Hooper was a regular fixture.

"It takes your breath away, and it hurts," said pastor Andrew Vandergriff.

Hooper and a fellow basektball team player, Brianna Christensen, were in a car when it was struck by a truck along icy FM 156 during Monday evening's winter storm.

Christensen underwent successful surgery after being rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Earlier on Wendesday, students at Northwest High School returned to class.

"It's going to be a sad day,” said student Noelan Gamblin. “It's going to be a tough day for everybody.”

Students gathered the hallway of the school for a prayer circle Wednesday morning. In pictures posted online, hundreds of students stood shoulder-to-shoulder inside the school.

They're mourning the loss of their friend and also praying for a speedy recovery for Christensen. Principal Jason Childress said Christensen emerged from surgery at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

"They did a cranial cap to release some pressure on her brain, and then the only other injury her dad said was to the left side of her face," Childress said. 

According to investigators, a truck lost control on an icy patch of FM 156 near the high school, crossed into the center lane and struck the car the teenagers were in. Senior Miranda Randall described the conditions after school as treacherous. 

"It still kind of hurts me, because I had just left school right before the accident and I could have been the one in that accident,” she said. 

Hooper excelled in academics and was active in sports, especially basketball. Her teachers and fellow students said she had a bright future ahead of her. In a show of support, friends and teachers wore her favorite color, and on Twitter, shared photos and memories using the hashtag  #SmilelikeShyann. Pictures poured in on Wednesday from nearby elementary and middle schools. The Fort Worth Fire Department even paid its respects.

"It's different to think that somebody you just saw that day passed away that day. It's weird," said Gamblin. "It's going to be a sad day. It's going to be a tough day for everybody. She thought she had a future and then she died. That's just upsetting." 

Students say they will remember Hooper by her smile and her warm, inviting personality. 

"She was just a all-around person of joy. You couldn't meet a nicer person," said sophomore Andrew Komark. "She is in a better place. She's watching over all of us and she's happier up there." 

The tributes will continue throughout the week. Neighbors say they will tie orange and purple ribbons around the trees in Hooper's neighborhood to honor both girls. 

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com msaavedra@wfaa.com and tunger@wfaa.com

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