Student-led celebration of Courteney Kaliszewski's life

By: Conroy Delouche Email
By: Conroy Delouche Email

SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WVLT) - Friends united one last time this week to say goodbye to Courteney Kaliszewski.

She was killed in a fiery car crash on Sunday while her church youth group was coming back from a retreat.

On Thursday afternoon, she was buried at Cedar Grove Baptist Cemetery.

Her friends wanted to have a prayer for her, but were just thinking of a small Bible discussion in a backyard.

In just a few days, it grew to hundreds of Courteney's classmates, friends and loved ones leading a prayer to celebrate her life.

Dozens of high schoolers huddled for prayer as the sun was setting in front of the Summit Church in Seymour. Some were wearing lime green pins, which was Courteney's favorite color.

"When I found out, it was so hard. I cried all day," said Nina Rogers, a close friend of Courteney's. "She was one of my close friends since 5th grade, and just not seeing her next to me at lunch everyday, it's just hard."

Courteney wore her faith on her sleeve, and those who know her believe that's the legacy she'd want to leave.

"It's definitely united people and to just come closer and to bond. Nobody is arguing or anything, as you can tell, everybody's friendly," said Kaitlyn Ouellette , who organized the gathering.

Hand-holding, hugs, and comfort continued inside as they sang and remembered their beloved classmate and child of God.

"I wasn't close to her, but I wanted them (her friends) to be in a place where they would be lifted up by God, and come out with a smile on their face. And stop dwelling on it, and realize it's a celebration of her life, it's not ending it's just beginning," said Ouellette.

As friends took the stage, it became harder to bear that she was gone.

"From having cupcake fights, to swimming in the pool. Everyday, laying out at her house, eating diner, and watching Madea Goes to Jail," said close friend Chevy Sweet.

"I have a bracelet of Courteney's that says 'I'm here to serve,' and that's exactly what she did," said her boyfriend, Andy Hoffman. "I miss her and I love her."


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