COLLINSVILLE – Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for student Tray Turner, Friday night after the homecoming football game.
Turner passed away earlier this week after sustaining injuries from falling off of a staircase at Collinsville High School, Monday afternoon.
Collinsville High School students and family remembered Tray during the memorial ceremony including speeches from Tray’s parent’s, assistant principal Dr. Kari Karidis, and various students. The celebration of life memorial ceremony also included a lantern release, and the Collinsville High School Band’s performing ‘Amazing Grace.’
Senior McKenna Miller opened the memorial ceremony with commemorate Turner’s impact in the community.
“Our Kahok family continues to mourn the loss of a fellow Champion. As a teen, it has been difficult to understand why tragedy has struck our school and our hearts,” Miller said.
Hundreds of glow sticks were passed out at the memorial service to symbolize ‘the bright light’ that Tray brought to the school.
“With these glow sticks we symbolize the flame and bright light Tray brought to our school, community, and lives. Tray has given us something, he’s the reason we are all here tonight. Let’s remember this moment as our school and community continue to come together,” Miller said.
Tray’s father, Joel Seib spoke about Tray’s selflessness and kind heart.
“He was never the type to come home and say ‘Dad, I helped such and such out of this situation’ He never wanted praise for it, he never bragged about it. He never, nothing. Nothing. He did it out of the kindness of his heart because that’s the child he was,” Seib said.
Seib added that this was ‘simply, a tragic accident.’
“Each and every one of you need to be proud to be part of this community. I’m proud. We need to walk away from this knowing that this tragic accident was simply, a tragic accident. It was just his time. We can’t change it, we can’t get him back. Most of all we can’t ask why because it wasn’t our decision, it was not our decision. I love you baby boy, I always will. I think everyone here will too, fly high baby, Seib said.
Tray Turner’s mother, Heather Turner, had a simple request for the community in attendance, “hug your parents tight and tell them that you love them.”
“As I look at each and everyone here’s faces tonight, I want everyone to go do me a big favor: I want everyone to go home and hug your parents tight, you never know when It will be your last day. We went to work, we went to school, we didn’t know that it was his last day,” Turner said.
Tray was ‘the best child that any mother or father could ask for.’
“He loved everyone he got in touch with and he had such a good heart. I am so thankful for every one of you that came out tonight to honor him because he was truly the best child that any mother or father could ask for. Go home and hug your parents, go home and hug your children. Take tons and tons of pictures of your family because you can never have enough,” Turner said.
Senior Emma Weil, of Collinsville, continued the speeches with an invitation for those who wanted to say a few words about Tray Turner.
“Let us take a moment of silence for personal prayer and reflection. Let us pray for peace in the hearts of all those that are hurting. There are many of us who were closer to Tray than others. At this time, we invite those who would like to share a special memory, share your thoughts, or say a prayer to do so,” Weil said.
Freshman Regina McCleure, of Collinsville spoke about her relationship with the Collinsville student.
“Trey was like a little brother to me. All last year whenever he saw me, he found a way to make me smile. I remember last year when he couldn’t get his backflip right, he never stopped until he got it. He always called me ‘big sis’ and I always called him ‘little brother,’” McCleure said.
Freshman Isabelle Marsala, of Collinsville remembered tray as ‘outgoing.’
“[Tray] was outgoing, he never had anything mean to say about anyone,” Marsala said.
Funeral services are scheduled for Monday. According to an obituary, services are scheduled to be held at 10 a.m. at Irwin Chapel in Glen Carbon. Friends may call from 4-8 p.m. Sunday at Irwin Chapel, 591 Glen Crossing Road in Glen Carbon.