DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The Lakeside High School community came together Thursday night to honor three of its students who were killed in Monday morning’s deadly crash on Interstate 85.
"’No Viking walks alone,’ that’s our slogan," said Lakeside High School Principal Dr. Susan Stoddard through tears.
Thursday night's game against Osborne High School at Adams Stadium started off with a ceremony honoring the three students.
"And while their family and friends are devastated, let's remember all the smiles, laughs, and love these beautiful young ladies gave the world and celebrate them," read a Lakeside staff member during the ceremony.
Ashley Gaitan, Katy Gaitan, and Coral Lorenzo, and two other teens were killed Monday when Gwinnett County Police says their car went over the wall of the flyover on Georgia Highway 316’s westbound ramp to I-85 south.
Ashley Gaitan, Katy Gaitan, and Coral Lorenzo (FOX 5)
Katy was in the JROTC for all of her high school career. Her uniform was displayed on the field. Before the games her fellow cadets honored her with a flag folding and honorary salute. Then everyone observed a moment of silence.
The ceremony continued at half-time when friends of all three students took to the field for a balloon release in their honor.
Afterward, several students held each other and looked fondly on the students' photos displayed on the field.
"Two seniors getting ready to think about the next chapter in their life. And we have one junior that unfortunately died as well...teenagers with music and art and friends and social lives. You know, life was big for them," Stoddard said.
The Lakeside High School community came together to honor Ashley Gaitan, Katy Gaitan, and Coral Lorenzo on Sept. 7, 2023. (FOX 5)
She told FOX 5 the school held a special ceremony at the high school earlier Thursday, giving students a space to express their feelings and remember the three.
"To let everyone know that you're not alone in that. That we're here for you, and you can talk to somebody, and it's good to talk to somebody," Stoddard said.
She also said she hopes the ceremony at the game serves as a reminder to cherish loved ones every chance you can.
"You can't take them for granted…to learn that at 14, 15 and 16 is hard. But I think that's what they're going to walk away with, is that we matter, and we matter to each other, and we should let each other know that," she said.
Dr. Stoddard says they’ve had grief counselors at the school all week and will continue to as long as students need.