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Around 7 a.m. on February 17th, Boonville High School student, Ashton Pryor, lost control of her vehicle, struck a guard rail, and rolled her vehicle. The passenger, 15-year-old Peyton Pryor, was transported to a nearby hospital. Ashton Pryor’s 17-year-old life was tragically cut short that day, but her impact on the lives of those who knew her will last a lifetime.

As Boonville High School students grapple with the loss of their friend, they’ve found new camaraderie in a somewhat unlikely place. When the Southridge Raiders basketball team prepared for their faceoff against the Pioneers the group’s focus was on more than the scoreboard. Prior to tipoff the Raiders invited the Pioneers to join them next door to Memorial Gym, at the Teen Outback, to acknowledge and celebrate the life of Ashton Pryor.

The fellowship gathering created space for students to share stories, grief, and a meal. As Memorial Gym filled with spectators expecting an athletic display, attendees of all ages witnessed compassion, empathy, and love for their fellow man. Raiders and Pioneers alike rounded the court to pay their respects to Ashton Pryor before basketball commenced. Although the tears shed around the hardwood floor can’t bring Ashton back, the love she instilled into all who knew her provided a heartfelt reminder for all to see: Life is greater than circumstance. Ashton’s ability to posthumously remind us of that means she will continue living.

Photos courtesy of Ross Fuhs

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